Manuel Neuer’s career rejuvenation with Bayern Munich has been a spectacle to watch. With so many doubters thinking Neuer’s career was over, the veteran has just continued to push forward, kept his confidence, and has proven every one of them wrong.
In the Champions League match against RB Salzburg on Wednesday, Neuer did something that he had never done before in the UCL: Make 10 saves. The 34-year-old played a very aggressive game and made several calculated gambles to thwart opportunities for the Austrian club, but in the end, he got tested 11 times and rose to the challenge on 10 of them:
Even with the goal that was scored, Salzburg’s Mergim Berisha could have been offside — but either way, Berisha’s shot gave Neuer no chance to make a save.
And it wasn’t just those saves in goal that were impressive, either. It was his trademarked unorthodox and aggressive plays on the ball outside the 18 that showed he still has the knack for when to cut short any potentially dangerous advances.
In those moments, his radical decisions often display his overall brilliance. As he continues to rack up these kinds of performances, it is fair to ask, “When does this end?”
Maybe not any time soon.
For a guy that was written off by some just two years ago, Neuer looks as confident and cocksure in between the sticks as ever. Sure, he’s also taking some chances that might make you hold your breath, but he also is making spectacular plays based on years of experience, fantastic instincts, and an overwhelming desire to stop the opposition.
The inevitable rut
While the pandemic has created a whole hell of a lot of extra time in my schedule, I had been killing off the end of most days with watching a show or a movie on cable or via a streaming platform. Right now, though, I’m a rut and either don’t feel like starting something new or just can’t muster up the energy to invest in a new series. Still, I’m trying to sort out what to watch next.
Part of me always gets gun shy before starting up a new series. I was “all-in” on Netflix shows like “The Punisher”, “Daredevil”, and “Glow”, only to see the platform pull the plug prematurely — and that always irks me!
I subscribe to HBO, but am actually reconsidering that move because I literally can’t remember the last time I was into any of the “prestige television series” that they’ve produced.
I will say, though, I caught the “The Mystery of D.B. Cooper” documentary on HBO...and I was “in” from start-to-finish. I had already known the backstory, but it was fascinating to learn more about the crime and to see just how many people thought they were connected to a man that has become a legend for his brazen plan. I highly recommend it.
One thing that always amazes about these kinds of documentaries, whether its “Tiger King” or “Meth Storm” or “Making of a Murderer” or whatever...it’s that, man, people are bleeping crazy. Like super crazy.
I’m not claiming to be normal, but there are so many wack-a-doos out there that I seem normal compared to them. Anyway, if you have interest in the D.B. Cooper mystery or even if you don’t, the documentary is a good and entertaining watch.
In what could be yet another rotationally-heavy gamble game for Hansi Flick, Bayern Munich will square off with VfB Stuttgart in a game that might not mean much for the club’s Bundesliga prospects, but means a ton in terms of building up some kind of consistency through this crazy season.
As always, who Flick rolls out as part of his XI is the most intriguing subplot entering the game. At this stage, it looks as if Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, David Alaba, Leon Goretzka, and Manuel Neuer are about the only players healthy right now, who Flick will lean on for every game. With Joshua Kimmich and Alphonso Davies both still out, Flick has been able to rotate through the rest of the positions quite effectively.
His wing rotation, however, has been the most fascinating position to follow. I’ll say it...Kingsley Coman has been the squad’s best winger this season. While Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry have both been up-and-down, Coman has been excellent — and I hope to see more of him against Die Schwaben.
For its part, Stuttgart just does not offer up enough to think it will be able to hold down whatever line-up that Flick rolls out. I expect Bayern Munich to win...and win big.
Prediction: VfB Stuttgart 0-4 Bayern Munch
Now on to our guest prognosticator:
Tom Adams: Stuttgart, in my opinion, have exceeded expectations this season after winning promotion back into the Bundesliga. Thankfully, ahead of our clash against them, Hansi Flick was able to make the necessary rotations he needed to make based on injuries and fatigue against RB Salzburg. Corentin Tolisso should be back for Stuttgart, Lucas Hernandez could return to the starting lineup, and he might choose to start Leroy Sane against Stuttgart as well. Still, though, I think this is going to be a scrappy affair and Stuttgart have the attacking prowess and pace to catch us on the break. I’ve really been impressed with players like Gonzalo Castro, Silas Wamangituka, and Daniel Didavi. I think Pellegrino Matarazzo will 100% have drilled the counterattack in the training sessions building up to the Bayern match, so we’ll have to be very careful with our defensive line and not getting caught out. Still, I think we have too much firepower going forward and with the form Manuel Neuer is in, there’s no way Stuttgart will score more goals than us. With that said, I think we can get to another 3-1 win.
Prediction: VfB Stuttgart 1-3 Bayern Munch
Predictions for the rest of the Bundesliga games are below:
- Wolfsburg 3-2 Werder Bremen
- FC Augsburg 2-2 SC Freiburg
- Borussia Dortmund 4-1 FC Köln
- RB Leipzig 3-1 Arminia Bielefeld
- Union Berlin 3-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
- Borussia Mönchengladbach 4-0 Schalke 04
- Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Hertha Berlin
- Mainz 05 1-3 Hoffenheim
The last Bundesliga match day was a rough one and that losing record dropped my overall mark down to a very dangerous range. With another shoddy week (always a possibility!), I could be very close to .500 or worse...so let’s have a big week.
Anyway, the guest predictors are still undefeated as well. The problem is that no one wants to risk putting a blemish on that record!
Last Champions League match day record: 1-0
Last Bundesliga match day record: 4-5
Overall record: 41-35*
Guest predictors of Bayern Munich games: 14-0 (?!)*
(*includes DFL-Supercup, DFB-Pokal, and Champions League)