Manuel Neuer has been an integral part to Bayern Munich ever since he dressed for the first time in 2011. He has since played nearly every match, to the point where spectators watching expect him to be the one lining up between the pipes in every match big or small. As a result, he has played more minutes than any top-flight goalkeeper in Europe over the last three seasons – 13652 minutes with Bayern, equivalent to 9 days, 11 hours, and 32 minutes. He needed a breather or two late in the season because of it, but when he was on the field, he was still the best goalkeeper in the world.
His Season Performance
Neuer got a lot of hype coming into the season after his stupendous World Cup and his appearance on the FIFA Ballon d'Or shortlist. Even with the added attention, he was nothing short of spectacular once again. He was a big reason why Bayern held their Bundesliga opponents to just four goals in the Hinrunde, still not afraid to come off his line and make a clinical tackle.
The one blemish on his season was Bayern's 0-2 loss against Borussia Mönchengladbach, for the two goals he allowed were saves he regularly makes. That blemish does not take away from what beauty of a season he had, showcasing his abilities in the UEFA Champions League Semifinal against the best attacking force in the world. Counterattacks did not phase him, penalties and free kicks did not fool him, and his stature continued to grow to historic heights.
Next Season's Prospects
In terms of quality, one should not expect a degree less than the performances he had the last four years. He will hopefully have a more consistent defense in front of him this time around, but that has never been an issue for him in the past. How much rest he gets is still the question, but now that Bayern have a younger backup in Sven Ulreich, the probability he gets an earlier breather or two may have increased. As long as Neuer is between the pipes though, Bayern should be confident in their chances to win the match.