Manuel Neuer has not had the best of luck over past two seasons. He suffered two major metatarsal injuries, calf tears, and a few minor hand and finger injuries that have kept him sidelined for considerable spells during the past two campaigns. Finally, though, in a recent interview with Bundesliga.com, Neuer says he is playing without any pain:
I feel really good right now, I’m not in any pain and can take part in everything we’re doing. I’m really looking forward to the new season.
He was one of Bayern’s standout players during the Audi pre-season tour in the United States and single-handedly helped Bayern keep a clean sheet in the first half of their match against Real Madrid, which they won 3-1. It was a performance deemed worthy of our “Meister of the Match” distinction in our post-match awards and was what we like to call “vintage Neuer.” Speaking about the U.S tour as a whole, Neuer said that in was a very positive and exciting experience for everyone involved:
It was a lot of fun. The first few days are obviously tough because you have to get used to being in a new time zone, but it’s not too bad once you find your rhythm. Their [the fans] enthusiasm was something else. We’re always very happy when football, the Bundesliga and our club are popular. We didn’t want to disappoint and wanted to give the fans something back. So of course we were only too happy to sign autographs and have our photos taken.
Looking forward, at 33 years old, Neuer knows he may not have many years left in the tank for Bayern. Some of the younger keepers in Bayern’s ranks have made solid impressions and have proven that they have what it takes to step in for Neuer when the time comes. They all possess characteristics of a “modern keeper” according to Neuer:
The young keepers have the modern style in their blood, but everyone still plays very differently. No one is the same in terms of height, stature or athleticism. Ultimately, it’s a goalkeeper’s personality that is decisive.
Hopefully Neuer can stay injury free for the better part of this season and avoid missing crucial matches, especially when crunch time arrives towards the end of the campaign across all fronts. Neuer missed a total of 11 competitive matches despite making 38 starts, but he was unfortunately unable to play in Bayern’s 5-1, title-clinching match against Eintracht Frankfurt, an occasion that he was certainly disappointed to have missed despite captaining the squad that beat RB Leipzig in the DFB-Pokal final.