Manuel Neuer’s recent leg injury has shocked Bayern Munich fans all over the world. Some are calling out the goalkeeper for being irresponsible and taking risky ski vacations, while others are asking whether it is time to move on from arguably the greatest goalkeeper to grace the sport. To answer the questions of the fans, Bild summed it up quite nicely. BFW brings you the information.
How bad is the injury?
First things first, how bad is Neuer really hurt? Bild says that he suffered a shaft fracture in his right tibia. Thankfully, the fracture is not open, which would have been even worse. According to Orthoinfo.aaos.org, tibial shaft fractures take around four to six months to heal fully, which would indeed rule him out of the rest of the season. He would be back just in time for the start of next season, with a possible return during preseason.
Do Bayern contracts have a clause preventing dangerous sports?
Yes and no. On the one hand, every Bayern contract states that the players are not allowed to practice dangerous sports. However, ski touring was apparently not considered a dangerous sport, so Neuer was free to engage in it. Why it was not considered so is a mystery, as is whether it will be reconsidered and reclassified as a dangerous sport following Neuer’s injury. Apparently coach Julian Nagelsmann is also a fan of the sport.
A potential Alexander Nübel return?
So what happens now? According to Sky Sport News, Bayern are not considering going into the Rückrunde with only Sven Ulreich and Johannes Schenk (19) as their action-ready goalkeepers. Fans can assume a new goalkeeper will join the club before they kick off the latter half of the season. The big question is, who?
Following Neuer’s injury, there has been a wave of news suggesting that Alexander Nübel, who was touted as Neuer’s eventual successor, would end his current loan deal with AS Monaco early and rejoin his parent club as an emergency measure. However, there remains an issue: what happens to Nübel when Neuer returns? Sky Sport News is reporting that Nübel, while open to joining Bayern in the winter, is not considering being benched once Neuer returns as an option. Quite understandable for his career. Bayern thus has a big choice to make: do they start the transition and groom Nübel to be the future No. 1, or do they keep relying on Neuer’s services?
Well, the answer may already have been implied. Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn has repeatedly sung Neuer’s praises in recent months, even claiming that he could imagine repeatedly renewing Neuer’s contract up until he reaches the ripe old age of 40, and possibly even after that, provided he keeps his stellar performances up. After Neuer’s injury, Kahn said that Neuer would “return to the pitch just as strong as before,” which hints that he plans to be reliant on Neuer’s services after his recovery.
If Kahn’s words are to be trusted, Nübel’s future at Bayern looks pretty bleak. Bayern would have to reach an agreement with Monaco to terminate Nübel’s current deal anyway, and it remains to be seen if Monaco are willing to search for another goalkeeper on such short notice.
Then who will Bayern sign?
Bild said the most obvious option for Bayern is for them to trust Sven Ulreich as their starting goalkeeper for the time being. Ulreich has proven to be a very good backup for Neuer on multiple occasions already. However, it still looks like Bayern will sign a new goalkeeper just in case Ulreich is unavailable or if his performances drop off.
Who they will sign is another story, though. With Nübel’s situation being complicated, Bayern might have to look elsewhere. According to Bild, there are no concrete candidates yet, perhaps obviously, since the news of Neuer’s injury literally just broke a few hours ago, and the winter transfer market does not open until after the World Cup ends. Bild tentatively laid out two options: Paris Saint-Germain keeper Keylor Navas, who has been second fiddle to Gianluigi Donnarumma, and Bayern’s old nemesis Yann Sommer, whose contract with Borussia Mönchengladbach expires this summer. Both candidates are pretty unlikely, though; Gladbach understandably wants to keep Sommer until the end of the season, while PSG would be mad to fork over a very reliable goalkeeper to Bayern right before they meet in the Champions League.
Another option that Bild put out, and whom BFW has already covered, is Dominik Livaković of Dinamo Zagreb, who has been putting in some outstanding performances at this World Cup. Kahn himself was watching Livaković in person as he led Croatia to a historic win over Brazil. He would definitely be a good, and cheap, option to consider. However, according to Christian Falk, Bayern have not considered signing Livaković until now – emphasis on “until now.” Things could well change after Neuer’s injury.
Meanwhile, what will Neuer do?
Neuer, like the warrior he is, is not letting this injury get in his way. Bild is reporting that Neuer is not thinking of ending his career at all. On the contrary, he is focused on getting back to the pitch and captaining Bayern again next season, and representing his country at the Euros two years later.