A shot-stopper extraordinaire and one of the most highly rated goalkeepers Germany has produced in recent years, Alexander Nübel is now back in the Bundesliga with VfB Stuttgart.
bundesliga.com takes a closer look at the man designated to become Manuel Neuer's long-term heir…
Nübel made his Bundesliga debut on Matchday 34 of the 2015/16 season in a 4-1 win over Hoffenheim at the age of just 19. The 6'4" stopper had two wait another two years for his next top-flight outing, but was ready when he received the call, keeping a clean sheet against Eintracht Frankfurt on the last day of the 2017/18 campaign.
Former Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco sprung a surprise at the start of the second half of the 2018/19 season by naming Nübel in his side to face Wolfsburg, leaving club captain Ralf Fährmann on the bench. The Paderborn native impressed in a 2-1 win, and went on to keep four clean sheets in a further 12 top-flight outings, cementing his position as Royal Blues No.1. With Fährmann moving on, Nübel was named Schalke captain by new boss David Wagner in summer 2019, and recorded four shut-outs in his first 15 appearances of the 2019/20 campaign, with his move to Bayern signed and sealed for summer 2020.
After a frustrating first season in Bavaria, during which Nübel made just one Bundesliga appearance on the penultimate weekend of the season, he decided to make a loan move to French club Monaco, where he was instantly installed as first choice. He stood between the posts for all 38 games of the 2021/22 Ligue 1 season, keeping 11 sheets as the club from the Principality only narrowly missed out on UEFA Champions League qualification by finishing third. He kept a further nine clean sheets in 38 league games in 2022/23, before joining Stuttgart on a one-year loan deal.
Plays a bit like: Manuel Neuer
When Nübel played for Paderborn's youth team, his teammates nicknamed him 'Manu' because he reminded them of Neuer. He has lived up to the hype, saving 80 per cent of the shots on his goal and conceding just four goals in his first six Bundesliga appearances - the very same stats as his predecessor. Throw in a Champions League debut shut-out in one of the most intimidating of venues around – Galatasaray's Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi – plus a super-human display against RB Leipzig in October 2019, and 'Neuer Mark II' makes a whole lot of sense.
Did you know?
Nübel played as a forward until U14s level, only making the permanent switch from striker-keeper to budding Neuer successor after personnel troubles at Paderborn. "He actually found being in a goal a bit boring," Nübel's former youth coach at the club, Marco Cirrincione, told spox.com. "He loved driving forward and scoring goals, but he filled in from time to time and was a natural. We had a few chats about his position and he wasn't happy about a few things at first, but he adapted quickly and even bypassed a few age groups."
Watch: Bayern and Gemany legend Oliver Kahn analyses Alexander Nübel
What they're saying
"He could be. He needs the experience that he will definitely get, but he's already developed really well." - Neuer when asked if Nübel could one day succeed him as his Germany No.1
"Alex was always better with his feet than many of our outfield players – when you had Alex on your team, that was half the job done – you knew you could always pass the ball to him. I can imagine seeing him as Germany number one in future." - former teammate at Paderborn, Eric Kroll
"He's a new-generation goalkeeper and one of the best German goalkeepers around. That's why the sky's the limit for him." - Markus Krösche, who coached him at Paderborn in 2014/15
"You can only speak highly of Alex – he's an incredibly talented goalkeeper, with the world at his feet. He's got an extraordinary footballing ability, but he's also very down to earth and is a great lad." - Klaus Thomforde, Germany's U21 goalkeeper coach
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