MX23RW : Thursday, August 16 16:06:47

Will Thomas Muller make World Cup history in Russia?

With less than a week to go until the 2018 World Cup, Sports Mole looks at Thomas Muller's chances of making history as he bids to become the competition's leading scorer.

As the 2018 World Cup edges ever closer, fans and pundits alike are making predictions for a tournament which is sure to have plenty of unexpected twists and turns along the way.

Can Lionel Messi lead Argentina to the World Cup? Will the young guns of France make up for their Euro 2016 disappointment? Will Brazil redeem themselves after their humiliation on home soil four years ago?

All three of those nations - indeed 31 of the 32 travelling to Russia - will be looking to dethrone defending champions Germany, though, and Joachim Low's side will once again go into the tournament amongst the favourites to become the first team to retain the title since Brazil in 1962.

Key to their hopes will be World Cup specialist Thomas Muller, who is bidding to make history by overtaking his compatriot Miroslav Klose as the player with the most World Cup goals.

Germany's Thomas Muller during training ahead of the 2018 World Cup© Reuters

To do so, the Bayern Munich forward will need seven goals - six to equal Klose's tally of 16 - which would likely be enough to earn him the Golden Boot in Russia. Only once in the last 11 editions of the tournament has a seven-goal haul not been enough to scoop that prize.

These betting bookmakers rank the German as a fairly big outsider to manage that, with teammate Timo Werner among those more fancied.

Of course, scoring seven times in a single World Cup is no mean feat, and the fact that only nine players in history have ever managed it before gives some idea of the scale of the challenge facing Muller.

The Brazilian Ronaldo is the only player to have managed it since 1974 - netting eight times in 2002 - but Muller is a player who thrives on the biggest stage and his tally of 10 goals in just 13 World Cup matches suggests that he is capable of amassing another impressive haul should, as expected, Germany reach the latter stages.

The list of the World Cup's top scorers is one Germany dominate, with only seven players in the competition's history having scored more than Muller, but three of those being German.

One goal would see Muller equal Jurgen Klinsmann, two would equal Pele's tally and he is currently four behind Gerd Muller, who scored his 14 goals in just 13 games.

However, history suggests that the Bayern man can surpass all of those, having scored five times at both the 2010 and 2014 tournaments, winning the Golden Boot in the former and the Silver Boot in the latter.

Indeed, in addition to going for Klose's all-time record, Muller is also looking to become the first player in World Cup history to win the Golden Boot twice, having picked up the award eight years ago.

Remarkably, of all the squads at this summer's World Cup, only Argentina's can boast more World Cup goals than Muller alone, and at 28 there is nothing to suggest that this will be his last outing on the grandest stage either.

History may have to wait until Qatar 2022 for Muller, then, but much like his nation, one can never count him out in a major tournament.

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Who will win the Golden Boot at this summer's World Cup?

Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo
Neymar
Antoine Griezmann
Thomas Muller
Harry Kane
Diego Costa
Luis Suarez
Romelu Lukaku
Other
Lionel Messi
37.5%
Cristiano Ronaldo
12.5%
Neymar
18.8%
Antoine Griezmann
0.0%
Thomas Muller
25.0%
Harry Kane
6.3%
Diego Costa
0.0%
Luis Suarez
0.0%
Romelu Lukaku
0.0%
Other
0.0%
The Germany team line up before their friendly game with Saudi Arabia on June 8, 2018
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