Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller not happy at being benched vs. Atletico
Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller has said he was unhappy at not starting his side's Champions League loss to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
Atletico record a 1-0 home win over Bayern in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal, as Saul Niguez scored a brilliant solo goal.
Despite Muller's eight Champions League goals this season, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola opted to drop the Germany international from his starting XI at the Vicente Calderon.
Instead of fielding Muller alongside Robert Lewandowski, the Catalan played Arturo Vidal, Xabi Alonso and Thiago Alcantara in midfield, and Kingsley Coman and Douglas Costa on the wings.
Following the 1-0 defeat against Atletico, Guardiola explained that he wanted "a left-footed player on the left and a right-footed player on the right" and also "one more midfielder."
Speaking to reporters, Muller said that he was surprised to hear about his role on the bench, although he accepted regardless.
He said: "I try to cope with it professionally. It does not make you happy, but it's important to realise what is important for the team. If everyone who sits on the bench just flips, we can forget about the season."
Guardiola's decision to try to reach his first Champions League with Bayern without Muller was strongly criticised by parts of the German media, and also by former Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.
He said on Sky: "Muller for Bayern is what [Lionel] Messi is for Barcelona. It's nearly impossible to replace them in the all-important matches."
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer noted that Bayern were not playing to their best in the first half.
He said: "We were well-prepared. In spite of that we lacked courage and aggression in the first half. It got better in the second half. It's a shame we were not rewarded. We will throw everything into the second leg. We still believe that we can reach the final. We'll invest everything."
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.