Neuer wrote about the importance of the Bayern Munich supporters and referenced how vital they are to the players on the team.
“On behalf of the team, I wish you all the best for 2021, with happiness and joy, not least regarding your FC Bayern — and, most importantly, good health,” said Neuer, who was awarded The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper 2020. “We’re looking ahead to 2021 with optimism. Our greatest wish for the new year, I think everyone is united on this, is that this pandemic will soon be overcome. We players pick up on your emotions, we experience them with you: You carry us over the distance when it really matters.”
For Neuer, there is no feeling like playing in front of a packed stadium.
“Those of you who play sport know for sure that success in training and success in competition feels different,” Neuer said. “The passion you ignite in the stands makes a big difference. We players pick up on your emotions, we experience them with you: You carry us over the distance when it really matters.”
Neuer also revealed that he had a long conversation with Joshua Kimmich regarding how the dynamic has changed on the pitch — without fans to provide the energy on game day.
“If you look closely now, you can see how we players have changed. We push each other more than we used to, because we have to release these forces more from within,” Neuer remarked. “After making a save I would rarely, or really never, cheer — today I make a fist as a sign for all of us, for me: Yes, we’re here, we’re strong! We currently have such a great team, which has formed a unit with the coaching staff, in which we can compensate for the empty stands as best we can, because unfortunately you’re not there at the moment. We can be proud of this team - I personally have never experienced team spirit like it, and I’ve been in football for quite a while.”
However, Neuer also said that he recognizes that it is not just the players missing the fans, but also the supporters having a void in their own lives.
“If I were a fan today, I would watch every game on TV — just like when I was a kid,” said Neuer. “Back then, we would certainly have created an alternative to the stadium to compensate at home; with my parents and my brother, every game would have become a mini event, a fixed date when everyone got together. Everyone would have taken the time to make the most of it.”
Regardless of the energy in the stands, Neuer said that Bayern Munich is focused on winning its next competition — the Club World Cup.
“The next big title for our team is coming up soon in 2021. Winning the Club World Cup in 2013 was a great experience,” Neuer said. “Winning the Champions League again has now earned us the chance to make history with this title. We want to seize this opportunity. For the club, for ourselves — and last but not least for our fans!”
This excerpt was posted on FCBayern.com, “51” magazine is available in German.