clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Manuel Neuer says Bayern Munich will be challenged this season

New, comments

Bayern’s 7th consecutive title will be no formality as a handful of clubs will be fighting tooth and nail to dethrone them.

Bayern Muenchen v Manchester United - Friendly Match
MUNICH, GERMANY - AUGUST 05: Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer of Bayern Muenchen looks on during the friendly match between Bayern Muenchen and Manchester United at Allianz Arena on August 5, 2018 in Munich, Germany.
Bayern Muenchen v Manchester United - Friendly Match MUNICH, GERMANY - AUGUST 05: Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer of Bayern Muenchen looks on during the friendly match between Bayern Muenchen and Manchester United at Allianz Arena on August 5, 2018 in Munich, Germany.
(Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)

It’s a new season under a new manager for Bayern Munich as the squad is set to open up their 2018/2019 Bundesliga campaign, looking for their seventh consecutive title. Niko Kovac has gotten his side off to a winning start with wins in both the DFL-Supercup vs Eintracht Frankfurt and the DFB-Pokal first round vs. FC Drochtersen/Assel, but a handful of clubs in the Bundesliga will be chomping at the bit to dethrone Bayern.

Ahead of their Bundesliga opener vs. Hoffenheim, Manuel Neuer has warned his Bayern teammates to not get complacent, and to expect incredibly tight challenges at the top of the table from [specifically] five clubs. Speaking to Bild, as captured by the Daily Mail, Neuer said that he feels Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke, Hoffenheim, and RB Leipzig will pose title challenges this season:

In particular, the clubs from the west: Dortmund, Schalke. Hoffenheim will also have a role to play. We’ll see what’s what with Leverkusen and Leipzig.

Thinking about clinching a potential treble, he admits, is far too premature at this point, as Bayern fell just short in both the Champions League and DFB-Pokal last season. Complacency can hit any team on any given day, and Neuer referenced Dortmund’s last-gasp win against Furth in the DFB-Pokal as an example of just difficult in can be to grind out results in Germany:

It makes little sense talking about the treble before the season. You just have to look at Dortmund in the cup game at Furth: it can hit anyone. Dortmund only scored in the 120th minute to make it 2-1. In the cup games especially, a lot depends on the performance that day. A lot can happen.

Still, though, with the modus operandi Kovac has established at Bayern already, Neuer feels confident that they have the strength to go the distance once again and believes that their strength in depth gives them an extra boost in confidence:

We have a strong team; we’re well prepared for all competitions. We have a good back-up in every position and it will be difficult for the coach to choose the first team. Sometimes, there will be some surprises.

Niko Kovac also added (via Bundesliga.com) that the long preseason with the squad has helped him implement his systems significantly, but that defending the title will be no easy task, by any means:

To speak about it [defending the title] is one thing. Actually doing it is quite another. You can have big dreams but are they feasible? That’s the most important thing. We’re glad it’s finally starting now. Seven weeks of pre-season was a long time, but we’re fit now and in a good mood

Kovac also expressed his excitement to have Neuer between the sticks for the Bundesliga opener vs. Hoffenheim and beyond, especially after he’d missed the majority of last season through injury:

Manu’s a leader and not only of Bayern, he’s also the captain of the national team. He’s someone who the opposition respect simply because of his presence, so I’m very happy that he’ll be back tomorrow.

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-BAYERN-MUNICH-TRAINING
Bayern Munich's Croatian head coach Niko Kovac (L) speaks with Bayern Munich's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (R) prior a team trainings session of the German first division Bundesliga team FC Bayern Munich in the team trainings camp in Rottach-Egern, southern Germany, on August 6, 2018.
Niko Kovac and Manuel Neuer in conversation during a training session.
(Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP) (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)