After news broke that Bayern Munich has relieved goalkeeper coach Toni Tapalovic of his duties with immediate effect, while it surprised some, it does not bode well for the currently injured Manuel Neuer. The two men both joined the club in 2011 and worked together to create the monster of a goalkeeper that we all knew. But that’s all in the past now.
According to a report from German news outlet Bild (via @iMiaSanMia), Tapalovic is Neuer’s closest friend and biggest confidante and the former’s departure is a sign from the club that they are now in the phase of planning without Neuer in the future. Despite Bayern saying that the 36-year-old former Schalke man will still be the Number 1, Neuer has met the same fate as Thomas Müller and earned “non-untouchable” status.
In addition, Bild says that Alexander Nübel will be the major benefactor from Tapalovic’s removal, while Yann Sommer’s status will not be affected:
On the other hand, Alex Nübel is biggest winner of Tapalović’s exit. Tapalović was an important reason Nübel did not want to return in January. Now that he’s gone, Nübel could come back and challenge Neuer under a “neutral” goalkeeping coach, which he previously ruled out.
Meanwhile, Tapalović’s dismissal does not concern Yann Sommer very much since he’s only been at Bayern for half a week. Nevertheless, he could also benefit under a new, more independent goalkeeping coach – especially if he stays beyond the summer and compete with Neuer.
Finally, Sven Ulreich could be the next one from the goalkeeper group to leave because he was considered to be one of “Tapalovic’s guys” — and likely will not want to stay with Bayern Munich to be a third-stringer:
Sven Ulreich is considered part of the Neuer/Tapalović camp. He got along well with them since he accepts his role and is loyal to Neuer. However, with changes in goal incoming in the summer, Ulreich’s future is uncertain. He wouldn’t stay as #3.
If Neuer’s career was ended by something outside of football, that’s such a sad way to bow out of the game. Being the revolutionary keeper himself, this must not feel good for Manu. Smitty Werbenjägermanjensen was Number 1, Manu will soon be a former Number 1.