Heynckes' belief in Muller pays off with upturn in form

MUNICH • Jupp Heynckes said he enjoyed seeing Thomas Muller return to form as Bayern Munich got their Champions League campaign back on track with a 3-0 home win over Scottish champions Celtic.

Captain Muller put them ahead after 17 minutes before goals by Joshua Kimmich and Mats Hummels sealed the Group B victory at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday.

"Thomas put in a good performance, he ran a lot, was very present and we saw the old Thomas Muller," said Bayern coach Heynckes. "He's an established player, the captain and it's good to see him playing well again."

He restored Muller to his preferred attacking midfield role, allowing him to happily roam just behind Robert Lewandowski, with Thiago Alcantara dropping into a deeper position.

The player had struggled for form under Carlo Ancelotti and was often played out of position.

It was an important result for the German giants after their 0-3 setback in Paris Saint-Germain three weeks ago, which led to the Italian coach Ancelotti's dismissal. They have six points, three behind leaders PSG and three clear of Celtic.

Heynckes, 72, came out of a four-year retirement for his fourth stint as Bayern coach and won his first match emphatically, 5-0 over Freiburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday. Despite a second straight comfortable win, he was unhappy with the finishing - pointing to the 29 shots on goal which yielded only the three goals.

"We created a lot of chances that we didn't take advantage of and, at the other end, let them have a few themselves," he said.

"We were a bit negligent there and we cannot let that happen."

Celtic coach Brendan Rodgers said he had seen enough positives to give him hope for the return meeting at Parkhead in a fortnight.

"There were lots of elements, in particular the second half, where we played well and looked a real threat," said the former Liverpool boss. "I was disappointed with the nature of the goals, but there were positives, like how we built our game from behind.

"The players had a plan and there were a lot of positives and things for us to use going forward for the second leg."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2017, with the headline 'Heynckes' belief in Muller pays off with upturn in form'. Print Edition | Subscribe