Manuel Neuer has missed the last three Bayern Munich matches across all competitions due to the meniscus operation.
Neuer missed the shock 4-2 loss to VfL Bochum, the 1-1 draw with RB Salzburg in leg one of the Champions League round of 16, and the 4-1 win over SpVgg Greuther Furth this past weekend. During his absence, Sven Ulreich has deputized in goal, having conceded a total of six goals from that span of matches.
It sort of came out of nowhere at the beginning of the month when Bayern announced Neuer would be out for several weeks due to requiring a knee operation as there had previously been no reported injury. It was initially reported that he would be out of commission for approximately four to six weeks and that he would most likely miss both legs of the Champions League tie against RB Salzburg. However, per a new report from Abendzeitung, Neuer could be fit on time for the second leg, which is set to take place on March 8th.
Per the report, Neuer has already resumed some light jogging drills at Sabener Strasse with fitness and rehabilitation coach Simon Martinello to help progressively manage the load on the effected knee as he works his way back to full fitness. He’d also been doing a lot of jogging with Leon Goretzka, who is working his way back from a patellar tendon problem. The report suggests that if Neuer’s rehab progression continues on at its current trajectory, there’s a very realistic possibility he could be available for the second leg against RB Salzburg at the Allianz Arena. The Bundesliga clash against Bayer Leverkusen next weekend would probably too early and there is absolutely no need to take any unnecessary risks for Neuer.
Earlier today, Neuer was shown working out on campus (as captured by Sky’s Florian Plettenburg):
Contrary to Abendzeitung, Bild is reporting that the RB Salzburg match would be too early of a comeback for Neuer. Rather, they say that a return for the Bundesliga match against Union Berlin on March 19th would be far more feasible. Despite his knee responding well to jogging and ladder drills most of this week, there is still a lot of progressive loading that needs to take place to see how the knee continues to respond before they can deem him fit enough to play.