Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has kept six clean sheets in his 17 Bundesliga outings so far this season. - © 2019 Getty Images
Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has kept six clean sheets in his 17 Bundesliga outings so far this season. - © 2019 Getty Images

Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer: "Now we're the hunters, not the hunted"


Bayern Munich captain Manuel Neuer says his side "are the hunters, not the hunted" as the defending Bundesliga champions look to reel in leaders Borussia Dortmund retain their title this season.

Speaking at the club's winter training camp in Doha, Qatar, the 32-year-old was optimistic has he looked ahead to the Rückrunde. "I'm happy to be able to train with the team and prepare for the second half of the season – I wasn't able to do that last year.

"[Not being top] is a different situation for us," Neuer continued. "We've got ground to make up. We're very motivated and want to win our games. We start away against Hoffenheim and want to pick up all three points there. We've got big plans in the second half of the season."

Thomas Müller believes "anything is possible" this season with the players at Bayern's disposal. - 2018 DFL

Those plans include launching a tilt at another treble, with Bayern having progressed to the last 16 in both the UEFA Champions League and the DFB Cup, with ties against Liverpool and Hertha Berlin respectively.

Team-mate Thomas Müller is likewise eyeing a successful 2018/19: "It'll be an exciting second half of the season. Both teams [Bayern and Dortmund] play at a high level. Over the last few weeks we've got back to our best and we can be dangerous for Dortmund now. I have the feeling we're back – in all competitions."

It is hard to argue with that. The winter break perhaps came at the wrong time for Bayern, who worked up a head of steam in December, winning all five league games and conceding just once in the process.

Bayern boss Niko Kovac (r.) has guided his side back to their best form after making some necessary tweaks in the first half of the season. - Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

"Anything is possible with our team," Müller added. "We've got what it takes and have the necessary skills and ability to do well in all competitions."

That confidence is also shared by head coach Niko Kovac, who pointed out that "we still have to play against Dortmund - and we're assuming we'll win that one". The 47-year-old was refreshingly open in his appraisal of his side's Bundesliga campaign thus far, saying, "there were a few things that didn't work".

Kovac said that switching formation from 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1 was "an important factor" in his team's resurgence, as was a reduction in the changes to his starting line-up: "as a consequence that led to the team finding its feet".

With key players including James Rodriguez, Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry and Corentin Tolisso all expected to recover full fitness in the coming weeks, the hunters will have a full arsenal at their disposal as they take Dortmund in their crosshairs.

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