Forget Darmstadt, it's all about Juventus for Mueller
Thomas Mueller has warned not to read anything into Bayern Munich’s comeback win over Darmstadt
Thomas Mueller has warned not to read anything into Bayern Munich’s comeback win over Darmstadt ahead of Tuesday’s crunch Champions League last 16, first leg tie at Juventus.
Mueller netted twice on Saturday as the runaway Bundesliga leaders came from behind to seal a 3-1 home victory in their last match before Turin.
Mueller dug the German giants out of trouble at the Allianz Arena before Robert Lewandowski added their third goal.
Bayern coach Pep Guardiola gave a debut to Serdar Tasci at centre-back in a makeshift Bayern defence also featuring Rafinha, Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba.
Franck Ribery came off the bench after injury to set up Robert Lewandowski for Bayern’s third goal as the Frenchman made only his third appearance of the season.
Guardiola is expected to name a different back-four against last season’s Champions League finalists Juventus.
And Mueller warned that Bayern cannot expect to enjoy the same 81 percent possession in Turin which allowed them to pepper in 36 shots on Darmstadt’s goal.
“Today’s match had nothing to do with Juventus, we’re just happy to have won and taken three more points. It’ll be 0-0 again in Turin,” said Mueller.
“Obviously, it’s annoying that we conceded a goal from a header, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we will do the same against Juventus.
“We have to be tighter in Turin, we can’t allow them so many chances,” Mueller added, even though Bayern’s defence allowed Darmstadt just six shots all game.
Bayern fell behind, against the run of play, when Darmstadt’s Munich-born striker and captain Sandro Wagner headed home midway through the first half.
It was only the fifth time this season Bayern had gone behind.
But Bayern roared back to claim their 19th win in 22 league games when Mueller slammed his shot into the right-hand corner four minutes into the second half.
He added a superb second by chesting down Arturo Vidal’s cross and hitting a bicycle kick into Darmstadt’s net on 71 minutes.
Lewandowski added the third on 84 minutes when he converted Ribery’s low cross.
It was Lewandowski’s 22nd goal of the season in 21 league games to leave him as the league’s top scorer, while Mueller now has 17.
Guardiola singled out Mueller’s spectacular second for special praise.
“You need a dream goal to beat Darmstadt,” said the Spaniard, who will coach Manchester City next season.
Mueller said he was more concerned about taking three points.
“It was a nice goal of mine, it felt good,” said the 26-year-old.
“I chested it down well enough and just banged it in the direction of the goal, but even if I score an ugly goal, they all count.”
Guardiola praised his side for their patience.
“36 shots on goal is good, but it was very difficult to win when they had so many players defending and played a lot of long balls to Wagner,” said Guardiola.
“I am happy with the team, they were patient and have a good spirit.
“From tomorrow (Sunday) we’ll prepare for Juventus and I think we’re in a good phase.”