Raumdeuter: An excellent exhibition of Muller's marvelous ingenuity
It was Louis van Gaal who realised Muller's genius and manoeuvred his incredibly astute mind which enabled the 'Raumdeuter' to exist in the highest tier of German football.
"Ich bin ein Raumdeuter" was Muller's reply when asked to explain his rather unique role within Bayern's system. Since then the term has been widely accepted and has Muller as its first exponent who has left an indelible mark with his fine performance and extraordinary brain.
It was in the 2009/10 season when Muller was about to be loaned away to find some first-team football, but the appointment of Louis van Gaal who realised Muller's gifts led to him assigning Muller a key role within his system and the results were there to behold, he has scored 108 goals in the 300 appearances since then and has earmarked a special position for himself in the team and has already left an indelible mark for himself in the history books.
But how has he managed it? Well, the simple English translation for Raumdeuter translates to 'Space Investigator' and The primary trait associated with Raumdeuter is not being assigned a specific role on the playing field. In his 10 seasons at Bayern ,Thomas has been deployed in a variety of roles as an attacking midfielder, false nine, centre forward, on the left wing, right wing and has hardly disappointed in any of these positions.
He is given the freedom to exploit space and the contribution to these stellar performances primarily is the appreciation of space, telepathic understanding of the intention of his teammates and sharp and clever movement off the ball. The fundamental principle of his game relies more on tactical acumen and mental strength, traits that are less obvious than extraordinary pace, physicality or technical qualities and make his game even more difficult to decipher. A Raumdeuter needs to have an appreciation of space, has to be in the right place in the right time, needs to be aware of position of others and Muller is just the right man on a manager's team plans to execute them, hence carving a niche for himself in the history books and promising a lot more to come in the future...