Manuel Neuer’s broken leg following the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup has kept the Bayern Munich star out longer than many had anticipated. In addition to missing the entire Rückrunde, Neuer has also left goalkeeping duties to Sven Ulreich for the start of the 2023/24 campaign — and is only now inching towards his return at the end of October.
Ulreich, though, has filled in more than capably and in recent weeks made a number of sensational saves to keep Bayern in the game. Head coach Thomas Tuchel gave a warm review of the deputy’s performance and the entire goalkeeping group after Bayern’s comeback win over Copenhagen in the Champions League, and the appraisal has more than held up since then.
“I’m pleased that Ulle is holding up so well, that Manuel Neuer is feeling so good and that the goalkeeping team, with Daniel Peretz too, are such a unit and are pushing each other. Ulle also has the full support of Manu. That’s the situation as it is right now. I can’t give a prediction,” Tuchel had said at the time when asked for a timetable of Neuer’s return (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).
Neuer really has been working his way back at his own pace — more than warranted, given the grisly nature of his injury. Take, for instance, Tuchel’s update from the beginning of October:
Thomas Tuchel on Manuel Neuer: "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… pic.twitter.com/rVpHQl8VfM— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) October 3, 2023
Thomas Tuchel on Manuel Neuer: “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”
The Germany star had initially hoped to be ready to take part in Bayern’s preseason and start the campaign between the sticks. However, it has been Ulreich instead (plus a DFB-Pokal glimpse at new signing Daniel Peretz) in the season’s first two months, and they have held down the fort.
Now, Neuer is back and expected to start against Darmstadt, which should provide fans with a jolt of energy given how long the star has been out of the mix.