"Their players are quick and skilful so we have to be careful," said FC Bayern München's top scorer Thomas Müller as he looked ahead to a trying last-eight meeting with FC Porto.
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FC Bayern München's top UEFA Champions League scorer this season with five goals in six games, Thomas Müller talks UEFA.com through his side's quarter-final prospects against FC Porto, and the skills that make the 25-year-old such a dangerous presence in the opposition box.
UEFA.com: How difficult can Porto make it for you in the quarter-finals?
Thomas Müller: Porto also won their group – the same group Shakhtar were in – so they are a step above. I think they have a lot of players who enjoy having the ball. Their players are quick and skilful, so we have to be careful. Of course, I think we are favourites due to last year's performances and our squad, but in any case we're not underestimating Porto at all. We want to put in an excellent performance and take something from the away game.
UEFA.com: Do you think your mindset and approach to games changes when you reach the knockout stage?
Müller: Of course, you feel more pressure. You know that every mistake can be decisive; you can't make up for the situation as easily as before. Every second leg is a knockout match. If the result is not enough, it's over. In the group stage it's important to start well with one or two wins, then it gets easier. You can correct a mistake, you can still hope until the end. However, in the knockout rounds you don't have much time. The stakes are higher.
UEFA.com: Your great strength as a forward is being in the right place at the right time; do you agree?
Müller: Well, most of my goals are scored from within 16 metres of goal, so that means being positioned well in the penalty area, but moves leading to a goal are not the only ones that count – you're always looking for a situation where you can be dangerous. But the fans don't necessarily notice the five attempts that were stopped by a defender at the last moment, or the moves or passes made by a midfielder or yourself. That's part of the game. Frank Ribéry has an eye-catching style of play when he's dribbling: him running with the ball for five seconds is often more impressive to me than when I finish the move.
UEFA.com: Josep Guardiola allows you to do a lot of extra training on positioning. Is that something you can learn or is it all instinctive?
Müller: I'd say 80% of success is not down to luck. As a defender, you never like it when forwards are behind you, as you lose sight of them. And that's the moment you become dangerous. The aim is to be positioned behind the defenders' back and to avoid being offside. But being in the right place is not always down to planning – I didn't make up those moves, they just seem logical to me. Maybe 20% of those runs are intuitive. Sometimes you just think what seems logical and you take a bit of a chance – you go with your feeling that the defender might lose the ball or something like that.