Per a new report from L’Equipe (via SPOX), Bayern Munich loanee Alexander Nubel is already making quite the impression at AS Monaco. The keeper joined Niko Kovac’s side on a two-year loan as it became clear that he would not be getting ample playing time at Bayern serving as Manuel Neuer’s backup. Stefan Backs, Nubel’s agent, had pushed for the move away from Bayern and Sven Ulreich has returned to the club after a one year stint with Hamburg SV in the 2. Bundesliga.
In Monaco’s 0-0 friendly draw with Royal Antwerp FC over the weekend, Nubel started and kept a clean sheet, as Monaco completed their third pre-season friendly without defeat after previously beating RB Salzburg 3-1 and Cercle Brugge 3-1. The former Bayern and Schalke keeper is currently ahead of both Vito Mannone and Radoslaw Majecki in Kovac’s pecking order as Benjamin Lecomte will still be sidelined for several more weeks due to his thigh injury. Because of this, Nubel could very well become the #1 keeper at Monaco since Lecomte likely won’t be fit on time to start the Ligue 1 campaign or Monaco’s Champions League qualifying campaign, which is slated to have its first leg on August 3rd or 4th. They will face either Sparta Prague or Rapid Vienna.
Importantly, Kovac had said a few weeks ago that whoever the keeper for the Champions League qualifiers were would be the number one keeper for the season; “the goalkeeper who will be used in the first game of the Champions League is the one for the season.” In this regard, Nubel looks to have the best chance of being that keeper. Essentially, given Lecomte’s injury status, the number one spot is Nubel’s to lose unless he also sustains some sort of serious injury problem.
Before the Champions League qualifiers against either Sparta Prague or Rapid Vienna, Monaco has two more preseason friendlies to play. They play VfL Wolfsburg on July 24th in Austria and then Real Sociedad on July 28th in Spain. Kovac could very well give Mannone and/or Majecki some time between those two friendlies, but they’re also two more opportunities for Nubel to further cement his status as Kovac’s number one keeper.