Malaysian hand in rise of Thomas Muller

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KUALA LUMPUR: Thomas Muller has taken the world by storm but not many people know that an Asian, and to be precise, a Malaysian, is instrumental in his rapid rise to stardom.

Bayern Munich Academy product Muller, 20, wreaked havoc in his first major tournament for Germany scoring four goals and helping the three-time champions reach the Fifa World Cup semi nals in South Africa.

Former Malaysian international Lim Teong Kim (pic), who has been working with German Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich since 2000, witnessed this young hotshot’s development process.

“Muller was not a gifted footballer but he is very dedicated and determined,” said Lim, who is now an assistant coach of Bayern’s U-19 squad.

Lim, who was the first Malaysian footballer to play his trade in Europe when he turned out for Hertha Berlin, a then third division team in 1987, has worked together with Muller and another rising star of the formidable German side in South Africa, centreback Holger Badstuber, when he was coaching the Bayern U-13 and U-14 teams.

Eight of his trainees then have graduated to the Bayern U-19 team with Muller and Badstuber the most outstanding among all.

Lim, who was part of Malaysia’s SEA Games winning side in 1989, said in an interview with the AFC website:

“Muller was not as gifted as some of his teammates in the youth teams but he made it big because of his dedication to training and matches. This is the same case with Badstuber.”

Muller, who is suspended for the semifinal against European champions Spain on Wednesday, is joint top scorer with his club and national team senior Miroslav Klose and is also in line for the Best Young Player award and Golden Boot in this year’s World Cup. - the malay mail

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