Return to Play: UEFA is preparing for the safe return of its elite competitions.

Learn more >

Thomas Müller on Bayern's 2013 Champions League success

A runner-up in 2010 and 2012, the Germany forward recalls the thrill of finally lifting the trophy at Wembley in 2013.

Popperfoto via Getty Images

UEFA.com: Can you describe what the atmosphere was like in the build-up to the 2013 final?

Watch the 2013 final in full at 17:00 CET


Thomas Müller
: The atmosphere was tense. We had just won the race for the German title, after Borussia Dortmund won back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012. The fact that it was an all-German final gave us the "favourites" tag. But, we were under extreme pressure too, of course, because the 2012 [final] defeat had always been a weight on our shoulders, a little stone in our shoes.

2013 final highlights: Bayern 2-1 Dortmund
2013 final highlights: Bayern 2-1 Dortmund

If we had lost that final against Borussia Dortmund, our direct rivals in Germany, it would've been different to losing against Barcelona, because that would've meant losing to the Spanish magicians. But this meant that we could lose to Dortmund, so that's why it was a tense situation.

We were under pressure. Basti [Bastian] Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm, two highly decorated players, received constant pressure from the media, saying that maybe they wouldn't be as successful [if they lost again]. That's what the debate was sort of about back then, and that's why it was even more significant than a Champions League final should really be. And we noticed that.

What else can you remember about the build-up?

We were extremely well prepared by Jupp Heynckes during the 2012/13 season, maybe a tad too much, but he clearly showed us the way we should go. That year, it was all about us and that was the only reason we woke up early every morning. To be successful, to get what we were denied or what we couldn't get in 2012. We wanted to get that trophy, the esteem. That year, we dedicated ourselves to that, and that's why we didn't want to stop at that Champions League final.

What do you recall from that game? Maybe how it started out, just tell us about the game.

Thomas Müller celebrates with final goalscorer Arjen Robben
Thomas Müller celebrates with final goalscorer Arjen Robben AFP via Getty Images

Playing at Wembley was something special. It's a historic, special stadium in London, an international city. It's not the stadium of a single club. Pretty much the whole of Germany travelled to London to see who was going to be crowned European champions. It was pretty special! Paul Breitner and, I think, Lars Ricken came onto the pitch with knights' armour. That was amazing, by the way!

About the game. In the first 15 minutes, we wanted to play it safe in all situations. We felt the pressure. We didn't play free, attacking football. We were very cautious. We played the ball back rather than trying to combine. Dortmund had one or two goalscoring chances.

Franck Ribéry was kind of involved in a heated situation. You could see that we were very tense. But, minute by minute, we settled down and then went 1-0 up in the first half. After that, the pressure lifted a little and we felt a bit better, particularly in the second half. We actually conceded the equaliser in a period when we felt there was nothing doing anymore. Dante was a bit unlucky with the penalty and then it's 1-1, and obviously that changed things around again.

Your emotions at full time: did it sink in straight away what had happened?

Yes. The day before, my stomach wasn't so good, so I was pretty exhausted after the game. It was more like: final whistle, and then the pressure just fell away completely.

2010 final highlights: Inter 2-0 Bayern
2010 final highlights: Inter 2-0 Bayern

First, I lay down, the machine was knackered. It was obviously highly emotional. It's a bit like you're in a trance: you try to get through the celebrations and the presentations, and then just try to recover somehow. It's more of a loosening feeling than the pure explosion of emotions you might experience as a fan.

Do you think that has something to do with you losing two finals previously?

Yes, you maybe have those thoughts of having to win so that you don't lose. In 2010, we were the younger team, we were an emerging team, there were lots of changes under Louis van Gaal.

It was kind of cool that we were in the final but no one really fancied us. We lost to a streetwise Inter side. It obviously wasn't nice for us but it wasn't like we went into it as big favourites and disappointed everyone.

Then, 2012 was particularly bitter of course, but we didn't get the feeling that we had a fear of finals or couldn't handle the pressure. We put in a great performance in 2012, which is why I didn't slip into negative feelings. I always have a positive attitude. I kept saying: "We will win the thing." I've never gone into a game and said: "Oh, I think it will be close today, let's make sure we get a draw."

This interview was conducted in January.

Top