Champions League: Bayern keeper Neuer: “I’m an ambitious guy”

Champions League
Bayern keeper Neuer: “I’m an ambitious guy”

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer returns to the Champions League stage. photo

© Matthias Balk/dpa

Manuel Neuer was worried about the continuation of his career after breaking his leg. Now he is returning to the Champions League stage. Will he be number 1 again in the national team?

Had to wait for this moment Manuel Neuer waited over 13 months. In the evening, the national soccer goalkeeper will lead the FC Bayern team as captain again in the Munich Arena against Galatasaray Istanbul for the first time in Europe’s premier class.

“I’m happy that I can put on the Champions League jersey again,” said the 37-year-old. Neuer played his 131st and last game in the most important club competition on October 4, 2022 in a 5-0 home win against Viktoria Pilsen.

The Galatasaray game represents the next step on Neuer’s long path back to his former class after his first games in the Bundesliga and the DFB Cup. “I’m glad it worked so well,” said Neuer. His club coach Thomas Tuchel calls the comeback performance so far “sensational”. He believes Neuer will be able to get back to “his old strength”. “The limit has certainly not been reached at the moment. But they are incredible steps. The fact that it works so quickly is quite extraordinary.”

DFB return will have to wait

Only the DFB return will have to wait a few more months. “The fact is that I will not travel to the national team,” Neuer announced on Tuesday. In consultation with national coach Julian Nagelsmann and DFB goalkeeping coach Andreas Kronenberg, Neuer will miss the November international matches against Turkey and Austria. “This also has medical reasons. It is still too early,” explained Neuer.

The 2014 world champion has to be careful. Before the Galatasaray game, Neuer gave a more detailed insight into the overall situation. “It was a very serious injury. I’m glad that I can play football again,” he admitted.

The body is still reacting to the stress of the game. “But that’s completely normal after such a long and serious injury.” He has to take care of his “small construction sites”. After the games, medical checks and intensive follow-up care are necessary. Cycling, for example, is important for circulation in his right leg, where he broke his tibia and fibula in a skiing accident. “It’s an important balance for me for body and mind,” said Neuer: “I’ve coped well with it so far. It can continue like this.”

Relaxed and ambitious

And the national team? The 117-time national player is tackling his DFB comeback in 2024. International matches are not scheduled again until the end of March. The home European Championships follow in June. He firmly believes that he will be part of the squad at the home tournament. “I will give everything for that,” announced Neuer. He appears relaxed and ambitious at the same time.

“Everything that comes for me now is a bonus,” he said. He will still attack the competition with Marc-André ter Stegen (31) from FC Barcelona for number 1. “I’m an ambitious guy. I’ll always compete to play as best as possible, that’s clear. Of course, no matter which team I’m playing for, I always want to be on the pitch,” said Neuer. First Bayern’s comeback, then the DFB return – and finally the home European Championship. Neuer’s plan is in place. Since 2010 he has contested every World Cup or European Championship as number 1.


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