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Weekend Warm-up: Manuel Neuer’s return to Bayern Munich delayed again; Bundesliga predictions; Did FC Barcelona’s Marc-André ter Stegen blow his chance with Germany; Throwing it back to Led Zeppelin (again); & MORE!

The Bundesliga is back baby!

Celebrities At Oktoberfest 2023 - Day 9 - FC Bayern Wiesn Photo by Gisela Schober/Getty Images

For those of you hoping to see Manuel Neuer back in goal for Bayern Munich this weekend against Mainz 05, you will not like what Thomas Tuchel had to say at his weekly presser.

The coach, his staff, and Neuer made the “joint decision” to wait one more week until the world class goalkeeper will make his official return to Bayern Munich. Tuchel did not want to rush things with one of his star players.

“We have Manu back in training, and that’s outstanding, we’re very proud of him. Yesterday we decided together with him that Sven Ulreich would start in goal against Mainz and probably against Galatasaray in order to give Manu more training sessions. Despite all the euphoria, it is important not to become hectic and not to rush things,” Tuchel said (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).

FC Bayern München Attends Oktoberfest 2023
Manuel Neuer will be week...maybe.
Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for Paulaner

“He deserves the greatest respect, the greatest praise. His quality in training is obvious. We all have to slow down a bit now — because it’s been 10 months. It would be best now for him to train more with our center-backs. The target is the home game against Darmstadt. I’m 100% convinced that he’ll be 100% up to his level.”

Neuer’s return from a horrific leg injury sustained skiing last winter has been much anticipated, but nothing has broken right (no pun intended) for the veteran to get back to the team just yet.

If there is a slight reason for optimism in the situation, it is that Bayern Munich has the confidence in Sven Ulreich to get through Mainz 05 (Bundesliga) and Galatasaray (Champions League) and that the club is willing to let Neuer get himself all the way back to 100% before pushing him on to the pitch.

Or...maybe Neuer is having trouble re-discovering his old, pre-injury form. Tuchel recently noted that Neuer’s progress has been great, but also that he was willing to wait for a fully healthy star goalkeeper.

“Things have been looking very good recently. I was very impressed with the last few training sessions, with his aura, charisma and quality. But I don’t want to make any predictions (on when he will come back). Manu decides that himself. But the last few training sessions were great,” Tuchel said two weeks ago.

Now, it appears that the decision has been made and, whatever the case, Neuer will be welcomed back against SV Darmstadt 98 or whenever he eventually makes his return.

Oh, speaking of Neuer...

During the international break, FC Barcelona goalkeeper and new (at least for now) Germany starter Marc-André ter Stegen was asked, “Are you currently #1 because Manuel Neuer is injured or because you’re so good?”

The goalkeeper answered that loaded question, the best he could (via @iMiaSanMia): “I never make my own performances dependent on others. I believe I’ve always played at a very high level over the last few years. That’s also what I expect of myself. I hope I can always prove that both at the DFB and at my club. For me, what counts is the here and now. I’m enjoying support from the team and the coach. I believe I will absolutely repay that. That’s where my focus is.”

Ter Stegen did not do anything to seize the position in Neuer’s absence and if Neuer can return to his old form, it will likely result in the Barca man being sent back to the bench.

Bavarian Podcast Works — Weekend Warm-up Podcast: Season 3, Episode 15

Bayern Munich is back in action, the German national team made some progress, there are transfer rumors galore, and, overall, the craziness is back.

This episode of the Weekend Warm-up hits on much of that, so let’s get right to it and take a look at what is on tap:

  • A preview of Bayern Munich vs. Mainz 05 — and why this could be a very important match under less-than-ideal conditions for the Bavarians (even if Manuel Neuer should be back).
  • Some thoughts on the recent transfer rumors surrounding Jamal Musiala and why he might no longer he the fresh-faced phenom that fans have grown to love.
  • Some final thoughts on the German national team’s recent set of games, the rumors of another documentary on the squad, and wondering what Julian Nagelsmann’s plan will be moving forward.

Song of the Week: “Misty Mountain Hop” by Led Zeppelin

Just about a month ago, I had a Friday that required me to “get the Led out” and you know what? It is that time again.

I woke up in a Zeppelin mood (again) and “Misty Mountain Hop” was at the top of my playlist, so here we are. Released as part of the legendary “Led Zeppelin IV” album way back in 1971, I could listen to this any day, any time...and feel that “jump.”


Entertainment Rundown

Your guy here is running on FUMES. Work, kids, and life are all kicking my a$$ routinely and with the Phillies in the National League Championship Series, I have been locked in (let’s not discuss Thursday’s result...upward and onward!).

However, with the MLB playoffs entering their final weeks, I will (eventually) make a triumphant return to viewing my favorites shows and here are some of the series that I am most looking forward to:

  • The Boys, Amazon Prime: This series is a gem and is expected to be back in early 2024. I am curious to see where it goes from here. Every time I expected the show to hit a wall, it comes back firing on all cylinders.
  • Cobra Kai, Netflix: The saga will end with the next season, which has been delayed until late 2024 or early 2025. Unfortunately, we have a while to go before we get the conclusion to this epic revival.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO: Larry David’s next season (this freaking series has been going on for 23 years, though with several large gaps) is set for a late 2023 or early 2024 release. This show always ends up being worth the wait.
  • Skeleton Crew, Disney +: Expected to be released in 2024, the Star Wars series could have a big effect on how I view the franchise moving forward. There has been some serious treading of water of late with Disney’s expanded Star Wars universe. I have yet to watch Ahsoka, but will do so soon. Regardless, I need to see progress.
  • House of the Dragon, HBO: Expected to be released in 2024 (likely late 2024), the writer’s strike pushed this back a lot. As much as I want to restrain my excitement for the series, I got wrapped up in it during the first season.

What shows are you most excited about?


Thomas Tuchel has a handful of lineup decisions that he needs to make, but it likely will not matter too much against a banged up, hapless Mainz 05 side.

Despite the common assertions that the squad is too thin, the Bavarians are well-equipped to be able to handle Die Nullfünfer. Simply put, Bayern Munich is just too good to fail in this spot (despite having every reason — fatigue, injuries, unhappy players) to slip up.

Prediction: Mainz 05 0-3 Bayern Munich

Other Bundesliga predictions include:

  • Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Werder Bremen
  • SV Darmstadt 98 0-4 RB Leipzig
  • SC Freiburg 2-1 VfL Bochum
  • Hoffenheim 2-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Union Berlin 1-3 VfB Stuttgart
  • VfL Wolfsburg 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen
  • FC Köln 2-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach
  • Heidenheim 1-1 FC Augsburg

Prediction Records

  • Bundesliga Last Active Week: 4-5
  • Bundesliga Total: 29-25
  • DFB-Pokal Total: 1-0
  • Champions League Total: 2-0
  • DFL-Supercup: 0-1
  • Total: 32-26

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