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Somehow, Toni Tapalović could return to Bayern Munich

The recently-axed goalkeeper’s coach and Manuel Neuer confidant could be back at the club in the summer.

Bundesliga”Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern München” Photo by ANP via Getty Images

Somehow, Toni Tapalović — the goalkeeping coach and Manuel Neuer confidant that Bayern Munich unceremoniously dumped early in 2023 in the midst of various controversies — could be on the verge of a return. Already speculated over earlier this Spring, Sport Bild’s Tobi Altschäffl delivered an updated scoop in early June, as captured by @iMiaSanMia:

There’s a rumour doing the rounds at Säbener Straße that Toni Tapalović could return to the club this summer - a news that Manuel Neuer would welcome happily.

Sky journalist Florian Plettenberg clarified the stakes:

News #Tapalovic: He‘s still on the payroll of FC Bayern. Therefore he could return to the club immediately. A future combination of Tapalovic/Rechner is very unlikely. No final decision about Tapalovic yet.

Next steps could depend on Neuer and [Yann] Sommer now. @SkySportDE

The story picked up steam with a further update by Bild on Tuesday:

Tapalović is definitely set to return. His role has not been defined yet, but he’s very likely to be a confidant for Neuer, dividing the work with current goalkeeping coach Michael Rechner

Bayern president Herbert Hainer weighed in noncommittally recently as well, but don’t expect more than that from the club before it’s official:

There are many rumours about that. We parted ways with Toni Tapalović some time ago. He worked with Manuel Neuer successfully for a long time. But I’m not going to give an update on that.

knowyourmeme / Disney

While extraordinary, it’s hardly sinister. Tapalović is a long-time friend to Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer, who was out for the Rückrunde with a devastating injury but looks set to return for 2023/24. Meanwhile, various figures of conflict who might have been reasons for his original departure: former head coach Julian Nagelsmann, former sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžić, and reserve keeper Alexander Nübel — who looks likely to depart the club for good in the summer transfer window — are now out of the picture. What’s old is new again.

Nübel, 26, was brought in by Brazzo in 2020 as a potential successor to Manuel Neuer, but with the latter’s career at top flight continuing there should be little reason for the rising German talent to stay in the shadows. He’s already concluded a largely successful two-year loan stint in France at AS Monaco.

Meanwhile Neuer and Tapalović are already rekindling a working relationship:

So it’s been a whirlwind. What exactly happened that made Bayern act so decisively to axe Tapalović? Where would this ultimately leave Michael Rechner, Nagelsmann’s goalkeeping coach at Hoffenheim who was brought in to replace Tapalović and remains on the active staff? It looks like there’s some big decisions still to be made behind the scenes.

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