Neuer backs Sommer success as Bayern star questions goalkeeping coach dismissal

By Sports Desk February 04, 2023

Manuel Neuer backed Yann Sommer to succeed at Bayern Munich but questioned the dismissal of their goalkeeping coach after his freak skiing injury.

Germany veteran Neuer suffered a season-ending injury to his lower right leg in a fall in December.

The 36-year-old subsequently underwent surgery, with the setback coming just days after Germany tumbled out of the World Cup in the group stage.

Bayern searched frantically to replace their star goalkeeper in the January transfer window, eventually bringing in Sommer from Borussia Monchengladbach in a deal Neuer has "no problem at all" with.

He told The Athletic: "I put up a picture in our WhatsApp group and apologised. I also called the people in charge, apologised to them and said I'm sorry.

"I'm not a coward who goes into hiding. I explained everything to them, including the background.

"It created a lot of work for the people who run the club and that I might have harmed the team, yes. I didn't want that. I'm the happiest person when Sven Ulreich does well, as he always has done when he stood in for me.

"When Yann was brought in, I told the bosses I had no problem at all with that. I think it's good we have two great goalkeepers. I'm a team player. It's important to me what happens at Bayern.

"I look at the overall picture I don't just think of me and my pain and so on. I have a vocation, I have a job.

"I'm an important part of the team and also an important part of the club and I want the club and the team to be as successful as possible. That's the most important thing to me.

"I've known Yann for a long time and know that he's a good guy – and a good goalkeeper. The club found a great solution. It was important to me that there's someone there and that I don't have to worry."

While Sommer eased Julian Nagelsmann's goalkeeping fears, Bayern dismissed Neuer's long-time coach Toni Tapalovic.

"That blow hit me extremely hard," Neuer added. "Toni was always a team player with us, everyone saw it that way.

"He wasn't working for me for eleven and a half years, but for the entire goalkeeper group, for the coaching staff and for the club.

"We were always able to separate work and private life. I understand that it might sound like I'm not being objective or not believable, but I can really tell the difference.

"For me, that was a blow – when I was already down on the ground. I felt like my heart was being ripped out. It was the most brutal thing I've experienced in my career. And I've experienced a lot."

Bayern sit a point clear of Union Berlin at the Bundesliga summit ahead of Sunday's visit to Wolfsburg.

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