Bayern hope to have Neuer back for Salzburg second leg

By Sports Desk March 07, 2022

Julian Nagelsmann is aiming to have Manuel Neuer back in his Bayern Munich team for Tuesday's Champions League last-16 second leg against Salzburg.

Neuer has missed more than a month with a knee injury, last playing against RB Leipzig on February 5.

Since then, Bayern have kept only one clean sheet in five matches, conceding four at Bochum in the first match without their captain.

Stand-in Sven Ulreich has still been steady – saving only 61.1 per cent of shots on target faced but preventing 0.4 goals and not committing any errors leading to goals – yet Nagelsmann is keen to have Neuer available.

"If there is no reaction in his knee overnight, he will be able to play," Nagelsmann told a pre-match news conference.

"We are all very happy about that – even if Ulle [Ulreich] has done well."

If the identity of his goalkeeper is dependent on medical advice, Nagelsmann has trickier calls to make in attack, where Leroy Sane's past two appearances have come from the bench.

Sane has 13 goals and 12 assists in 34 games this season, although 12 of his goals have come in his 27 starts – and he has made every Champions League XI so far.

"He's a player I don't like to leave out because he has the quality that has already won us games," Nagelsmann said of Sane.

"I haven't decided yet what the first XI will look like. Of course, he is a candidate.

"I hope he's in the best shape if he plays from the start. He's an incredible player who can't really be defended when he plays to the limit. He has my confidence, even if he doesn't start."

Nagelsmann accepted Bayern can only have a "special season" if they continue their Champions League run beyond this tie, which is level at 1-1 ahead of the home leg.

And he will not allow his team to be complacent against Salzburg, who threatened an upset in Austria, where Kingsley Coman equalised in the 90th minute.

"Salzburg have been a good team for years – they have a very clear idea about how to win the ball," Nagelsmann added.

"It's never easy to defend that. It may not be the prettiest, but it is very dangerous.

"They have a lot of interesting individual players and have the quality to play football.

"They would also do well in the German Bundesliga because they have a lot of good players who are hungry and want to win something. They are a dangerous team who will demand everything from us."

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