Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has never been one to hold back on giving his opinion. As the 67-year-old outgoing team official watched the whole Manuel Neuer vs. Marc-André ter Stegen spat rage over the past week, he had enough.
Hoeness gave the media his perspective on the situation and as you can imagine, he sided with Neuer, Germany’s captain and incumbent starter between the sticks. In quotes Hoeness gave to Sport 1, Bayern Munich’s president did not hold back on letting it be known what he thinks about Ter Stegen’s public grumbling and how the press has carried the torch for the FC Barcelona goalkeeper:
The West German press supports him to the extreme, as if he [Ter Stegen] had won 17 World Cups. He doesn’t have a claim whatsoever. There is no discussion that Neuer is the number 1. We won’t put up with our players’ reputations being hurt. Ter Stegen is a very good goalkeeper, but Manuel is much better, much more experienced. He can play as long as he is healthy. He will always be the best.
The hierarchy must be clear, and the hierarchy is: Manuel Neuer is the number one. He has been the best goalkeeper in the world for many years. If he has his old form again — and he does — there is no discussion that only he can be the number one.
It should be noted that there are some quotes floating about that take the statements above a bit out of context and put Hoeness’ full ire on Ter Stegen rather than the media. Hoeness also lamented the “drama” that seems to be constantly emitting from the DFB:
We constantly get drama. First the outrageous exit, where the three players [i.e. Hummels, Boateng, Müller] were treated badly. Now the same with Manuel Neuer. For a teammate to go public on a subject that he should only discuss with Joachim Löw — that’s not okay.
Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac also offered this to Sport1:
I am absolutely on the side of my bosses, absolutely on the side of my captain, of Manuel. He is Germany’s number one, and he will remain that as long as he continues to perform and does not resign.
The whole saga only dates back a week, but has garnered much attention. After first stating he would patient, Ter Stegen doubled back and complained about having to back-up Neuer. Neuer then responded, before Ter Stegen, again, fired off some verbal barbs at Neuer.
Finally, Germany coach Joachim Löw chimed in to try and settle the situation by saying Ter Stegen would be give opportunities to take the mantle from Neuer in the future and the FC Barcelona goalkeeper might not have to wait too long to step into Neuer’s starting role. Per Sport Bild, Neuer is reportedly considering his international retirement and could step down after the UEFA EURO 2020 competition.
Both goalkeepers are excellent and proved as much by each clinching a clean sheet this week in the Champions League. Ter Stegen earned a 0-0 draw against Borussia Dortmund, while Neuer captured a 3-0 win over Red Star.
Neuer, however, has yet to be knocked down from his status as Germany’s first choice starter and just wants the public nature of this to be over: