Thomas Müller has spoken of the difference Manuel Neuer makes to the team, with the Bayern Munich goalkeeper set to return after four weeks out against Red Bull Salzburg in the UEFA Champions League.
Neuer, who turns 36 at the end of March, has missed Bayern’s last five games, including the first leg in Salzburg, after undergoing surgery on his knee. But he is now in line to make his comeback in the return fixture at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday, according to Julian Nagelsmann.
“Manu will be able to play, provided there’s no reaction overnight,” the 34-year-old coach declared at his press conference on the eve of the game. “Everyone knows how important he is. We’re all glad about it.”
“Manu’s return is super. When he’s in goal, the opponent sometimes has a different mindset. And Manu can also save unsaveable shots,” said the man third on Bayern’s appearance chart with 615, behind Sepp Maier (702) and Oliver Kahn (632).
Neuer’s brilliance has long been fact in the footballing world, but the man who redefined the goalkeeping game has shown more than ever in recent years that he’s at the peak of his powers with countless excellent stops.
Watch: The best of Manuel Neuer
Neuer has kept 223 clean sheets in 461 appearances for the Munich club since joining from Schalke in 2011. He has twice helped Bayern to the Champions League title, in 2013 and 2020.
Germany’s record champions are again among the favourites for Europe’s crown and know they need a result in the second leg against Salzburg to make it to the quarter-finals.
“We have to and want to progress,” Müller added. “If we do that, it can be a very good season. If we’re knocked out, it won’t be a rosy season for Bayern.”
Despite Neuer missing the last four fixtures in the league, the Bundesliga champions have built a nine-point lead over Borussia Dortmund, although having played a game more. They follow the Salzburg game with a trip to fourth-placed Hoffenheim on Saturday.
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