German football star Thomas Muller has committed a needless and sickening karate kick to the head of an opposition player that earned him a straight red card.

The Bayern Munich striker was sent off early with 15 minutes to play in his team's 3-3 thriller against Ajax after he collected Nicolas Tagliafico with a horrific boot to the head.

The Ajax defender went down immediately and required staples in his head to stem the bleeding.

Referee Clement Turpin didn't hesitate in showing Muller a red card.

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Tagliafico was on the ground for a number of minutes while he received treatment following the blow.

In a spiteful encounter, Ajax had earlier been reduced to 10 men after Maximilian Wober was sent off for serious foul play.

Muller will miss the first leg of Bayern's last-16 tie, which will be decided at the draw for the Champions League knockout stages in Nyon next week.