If anybody knows what he is talking about in terms of who Bayern Munich’s first choice goalkeeper should be, it would be former Bayern number one and current board member Oliver Kahn. Speaking this week, Kahn has given his clear backing to Manuel Neuer saying that Alexander Nübel will have to bide his time after joining from Schalke.
Neuer himself moved from the Königsblauen to the Allianz Arena in 2011 so the signing of Schalke’s captain announced in January looked like history repeating himself. However, when Neuer arrived, he was installed as the club’s first choice custodian, whereas 23-year-old Nübel is seen as more of a long-term option.
“I’ve spoken to Alexander Nübel a bit,” Kahn told media. “It’s a very big step to join Bayern, I experienced that as a player. At first, it’s all about acclimatising, settling in here and getting to know your teammates and the coaching team, and then you have to try to gain a foothold – but it’s a gradual thing.
“He said himself that this is a mid-term challenge for him. That means he accepts that it might take him a year or two to take over from Manuel Neuer, who is absolutely the No.1 at the moment. Last season, you could see how his numerous important saves contributed to us winning the Bundesliga for the eighth time in a row.”
Looking at last season’s stats, it is clear that Neuer still ranks as one of the best keepers in the Bundesliga (if not Europe). He kept 15 clean sheets in 31 league appearances conceding just 31 goals. Nübel kept just 6 clean sheets in 26 appearances conceding 40. Neuer had a save percentage of 72.6%, while the Schalke keeper hit 66.7%.
Many people will question Nübel’s decision to join Bayern at this stage in his career swapping a regular berth and the captaincy at Schalke for potentially sitting on the Bavarian bench for the next two years. He has signed a five-year contract with the German record champions until 30 June 2025. “The first impressions are very, very good. I wanted to take the next step” he predictably said after his unveiling. “My goal is to improve steadily and celebrate many successes with FC Bayern.”
If Manuel Neuer has his way though, those successes might only begin in two years’ time.