Müller admits Bundesliga title race over for Bayern Munich
The Local · 21 Jan 2011, 07:19
Published: 21 Jan 2011 07:19 GMT+01:00
Bayern are 16 points behind leaders Dortmund and are fifth in the league.
They host Kaiserslautern at Munich's Allianz Arena and with 16 games still to play this season, Müller said the champions are more concerned with securing next season's Champions League berth than catching Dortmund.
"We certainly imagined the start of the season would have been different," said Müller. "Our minimum target for the season is now to make sure our Champions League place for next season is not in question."
In the last week, both Bayern winger Arjen Robben and striker Mario Gomez have also admitted Munich are effectively out of the running for the German title.
With playmaker Franck Ribery expected to miss the next few weeks with a slight knee injury, Müller is a candidate for the left wing berth vacated by the Frenchman.
But the German, who finished the World Cup as both the top scorer and voted the best young player, said he has no preference where he is picked.
"I am not a player who says 'I have to play in a certain position and if I don't play there, I am offended'," said Müller. "It is more important for me to wear the shirt and play my best for 90 minutes, wherever that may be."
After marking his Bundesliga debut with a stunning save against Wolfsburg in last Saturday's 1-1 draw, goalkeeper Thomas Kraft is expected to remain in goal.
Leaders Dortmund host second-from-bottom Stuttgart on Saturday with confidence buoyed.
Jürgen Klopp's side have a goal difference of 31 and are chasing their 16th win from 19 matches with a near full-strength side.
In contrast, Stuttgart have won just four games all season, but last Saturday's 1-0 win over Mainz shows they are starting to perform under new coach Bruno Labbadia.
Having muscled their way up to second in the league, Hannover are at home to Schalke and with 34 points have already beaten last season's tally of 33 for the entire campaign.
Having lost 1-0 at Hamburg last week thanks to a single goal from Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, Schalke, 11th in the league, are looking to get back to the form which saw them win five straight games.
Wolfsburg's ex-England coach Steve McClaren needs a win at third-placed Mainz as his side's 1-1 draw with Bayern was their 10th straight game without a win while Mainz need a home win to stay in the title race.