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Thomas Muller issues warning to Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland with a Czech double

By Adam McKendry

Published 10/10/2016

Confident: Muller has scored four goals in two games for Germany
Confident: Muller has scored four goals in two games for Germany

Germany striker Thomas Muller says he's delighted to be back with the national team after his poor start to the season for club Bayern Munich.

Muller has yet to score a Bundesliga goal for the German champions, despite playing in six games.

He netted once in the Champions League and once in the Liga Pokal, but it tallies to a disappointing two goals in 10 games for a striker who is considered one of the deadliest finishers in Europe.

However, his poor form with Munich hasn't translated over to the international team, and he goes into tomorrow's night's clash with Northern Ireland in Hannover having scored four goals in Germany's first two qualifiers.

It means the influential 27-year old has now bagged himself 36 goals in 80 appearances for his country.

His good form in the white of his country will please coach Joachim Low, who has had his hand significantly weakened by the loss of Mario Gomez to injury prior to the qualifiers.

With his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, Muller told reporters after scoring twice in the the Germans' 3-0 win over the Czech Republic that he was not in a reported goalscoring mini-crisis.

"I was in a tragic situation before the game, so I was really glad I could get out of this mess," he said, with more than a hint of irony.

He continued, on a more serious note: "The football business is like that sometimes.

"I try to let myself be influenced as little as possible by the positive as well as the negative moments and just continue on my way.

"I listen to my coaches and my inner voice, and if a good tip from a journalist is there, I will listen to it too."

Meanwhile, defender Mats Hummels, Muller's team-mate for both club and country, insisted that the nation's defensive woes were over after their problems leading into Euro 2016.

Germany went into the tournament with a wretched defensive record despite boasting one of the best goalkeepers in the world in world class stopper Manuel Neuer.

No doubt the persistent injury problems both Hummels and centre-back partner Jerome Boateng endured played a significant part in that poor run.

But now that both are back and healthy, and have forged an even better relationship due to Hummels' summer move to Munich from Borussia Dortmund, he says they are feeling confident.

The 27-year old used the example of Saturday night's victory over the Czechs as proof that they are improving with every game.

"Jerome and I kept finding good solutions to problems at the back (against the Czech Republic)," said Hummels after the match.

"We didn't start our last qualifying campaign so well (they lost 2-0 to Poland early on) and we really want to do things differently this year.

"At the moment, we are very focused and things look good."

Belfast Telegraph

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