Manuel Neuer hopes to be back in the Bayern Munich goal before the end of the season. - © 2019 Getty Images
Manuel Neuer hopes to be back in the Bayern Munich goal before the end of the season. - © 2019 Getty Images

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer targets speedy return from injury

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer says he can't be 100 per cent sure of his return date after sustaining a calf injury on Bundesliga Matchday 29, but is optimistic he will be fit to face RB Leipzig in two weeks' time.

Neuer, 33, was replaced by Sven Ulreich in the 53rd minute of Bayern's 4-1 victory away to Fortuna Düsseldorf on Sunday after seeming to slip while playing a routine pass out from the back.

Bayern released a statement saying that tests had revealed a torn muscle in his calf and that he is anticipated to be out of action for approximately 14 days, before Neuer spoke to media at a press conference on Wednesday to shed some light on the situation.

"I want to be back playing again as soon as possible," Neuer said. "I can't say for certain when I'll be back in goal, you can only surmise. The Leipzig game [on Matchday 33] is a realistic objective, though. I think I'll be good to go with two weeks of training behind me. Little injuries like this can happen after such a long absence. I expected it to happen - even during the first half of the campaign."

Sven Ulreich (l.) will deputise in Manuel Neuer's (r.) absence, as he did for much of last season. - imago images / Team 2

Neuer managed just 360 minutes of competitive football during the early part of last season, before being sidelined by a second metatarsal fracture in the space of six months. He returned in time to take his place between the Germany posts at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and has started 37 of Bayern's 42 competitive outings so far in 2018/19, sitting out three games of the record champions' Bundesliga title defence with finger and calf injuries.

Neuer will miss this weekend's Bundesliga assignment at home to Werder Bremen, the DFB Cup semi-final against the same opposition a few days later, the Matchday 31 clash against Nuremberg and potentially the Matchday 32 meeting with Hannover. If he doesn't recover in time to face Leipzig (11 May), he could still feature in Bayern's season-ending home game against Eintracht Frankfurt (18 May), as well as the DFB Cup final (25 May), should the 18-time winners get there.

"It's important to stay motivated in the coming weeks," Neuer said. "We're a point clear of Dortmund and have the better goal difference. The 5-0 win over Dortmund is in the past now. We start every game from scratch and we won't be given any handouts at such a decisive stage in the season.

"We have to stay focussed and build on our recent performances. All the games that are left will be like finals. We won't underestimate anyone."