With internationals hogging the spot-light this week, Bayern had no games to play. Thomas Müller featured in Germany’s 3-0 win over Faroe Islands while Toni Kroos was kept out of the squad due to pelvic bruising. These two players have baffled Bayern fans for a while. They both are highly talented but are very different from each other. So, who should Jupp Heynckes place in his starting line-up more often this season?
With the inclusion of Javier Martinez in the squad, either Müller or Kroos is set to lose playing time alongside Luiz Gustavo. Müller has started the season in good form as has Kroos. Last season, when Müller wasn’t at his peak, Heynckes benched him for a couple of games. This season, the decision will be more difficult.
First of all, there shouldn’t even be a debate about the two because of how different they are from each other. Unfortunately, they might end up fighting for the same position this season. For a significant amount of time last season, Kroos had to fill in for Bastian Schweinsteiger in defensive midfield. Schweinsteiger is now ready to start matches again.
Let’s take a look at Müller. He is the face of the German game currently. He belongs to a generation of midfielders blessed with pace and good positional sense. He is versatile and can play anywhere in the front four. He scores plenty of goals without being two flashy. He can cross well but does not possess the touch of Kroos. His biggest asset is his intelligence, which makes him unpredictable.
Kroos, unlike his generation, isn’t the fastest player on the field. He is blessed with unimaginable technique. His distribution is immaculate. Some of his passes are beyond the realms of imagination itself. His shooting technique is also quite brilliant even though he didn’t score too many from distance last season. All of Kroos’ goals bear his hallmark. He plays with quite a bit of flair.
Kroos has a few small issues that he has seemingly addressed. He can get caught out of possession at times in defensive midfield. He tends to drop deeper than necessary sometimes. His tackling isn’t perfect. He is at his best in attacking midfield where he presents a different problem to opponents than Müller does, as Real Madrid fans can attest to.
Müller is accused by some fans of ‘doing little’ on his bad days even though he does try endlessly. He hasn’t had one yet this season. Müller is best suited to counterattacks, as the game against Stuttgart showed. When possession control is required, Kroos is a much better option. Kroos can sometimes play too many horizontal passes rather than look to create something, however.
In terms of accomplishments, Müller is the Golden Boot and Best Young Player Award winner of the 2010 World Cup. Kroos won the Bronze Boot and the Golden Ball in the U-17 World Cup. Therein lies the difference between the two; Kroos won the Golden Ball while Müller won the Golden Boot.
Heynckes could obviously choose whom to play according to the tactics required. Kroos can be used when a large amount of possession is required while Müller can feature against opponents who are susceptible to counters. They both are seemingly most effective when playing with each other. They understand each other well, as the game against Stuttgart displayed.
However, for Heynckes, benching Arjen Robben is seemingly not an option. Martinez was purchased with 40 million Euros and must start games. Unfortunately, Müller and Kroos will not get too many opportunities to play alongside each other this season if things pan out the way they are expected to.
So, finally, who in your opinion is the better player? Who do you think should get more playing time this season? Let me hear your thoughts.