If Manuel Neuer had scarcely started for Bayern Munich in a full calendar year, it sure did not look like it.
Nor did it look like the veteran 37-year-old and long-time Germany star was anywhere near past his best.
Neuer marked his return in fine fashion in Bayern’s 8-0 rout of Darmstadt on Saturday — called upon early after Joshua Kimmich’s untimely red card inside of five minutes, and then hardly needed for the second half as the Bavarians pummeled their opposition. The sweeper-keeper looked composed and ready to go for the long season ahead.
And not that Sven Ulreich filled in poorly — the opposite! But the Bavarians had a certain swagger, an air of confidence about them, with Neuer back between the sticks.
“Manuel always thinks a couple of steps ahead, we can see that in training, the way he also coaches his teammates on the pitch,” head coach Thomas Tuchel explained after the match, as captured by @iMiaSanMia. “He adapts to every situation, knows when we have to change something and always gives feedback. That was what we needed today when we were down a man but also when we were a man up. He played very well and made a big save in the first half. Keeping a clean sheet straight away was very important.”
Interested in more analysis of this crazy game? Is Harry Kane suffering from Erling Haaland syndrome? Why doesn’t Thomas Müller play more? We talk about all that and more in our postgame podcast! Listen to it below or on Spotify.
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