Captain leads the way
Neuer primed for second half of the season
Sleeves rolled up, focused and always a smile on his face: that was Manuel Neuer during the first few days in Doha. After missing the training camp last season with a foot injury, the captain is back this year. “I’m obviously happy to prepare for the second half of the season with the team,” said the 32-year-old, who doesn’t shy away from tough training sessions. The aim is “to prepare myself so that I’m ready for the start of the second half of the campaign.”
Bayern have a lot ahead of them in the rest of the season. “We have to make amends and catch up, and we’re highly motivated,” said the goalkeeper on going into the second half in the unusual role of hunters rather than hunted. “I would gladly swap places,” said Neuer, but he has by no means given up hope of catching league leaders Borussia Dortmund. Over the course of the season every team has a bad patch and “we will see whether this happens to Dortmund.”
Neuer has many plans for the second half
Now it’s up to FC Bayern first of all to continue their most recent performances into the New Year. “Obviously we want to win our games and do our homework. That will be difficult enough,” urged the Bayern captain, for whom the last five wins in the league - the last four without any goals against - have brought a confidence boost. “It was very positive that we managed to go on a run of not conceding and we’ve started the training camp with this feeling,” added the keeper.
This is especially true given that in the first half of the season Neuer had to pick the ball out of the back of the net more frequently than he’s been used to in previous years (18 goals conceded). “Naturally it wasn’t an easy first half because not everything went my way,” admitted the four-time world goalkeeper of the year. He received positive feedback from coaches and teammates, even outside of FC Bayern, so that he knew how to assess the situation.
Chances against Liverpool? 50:50!
The 2014 world champion would rather look forward: after all, Bayern are still active in three competitions: As well as the DFB Cup last 16 game at Hertha Berlin in February, Neuer and Co also have the prospect of two games against Liverpool in the Champions League last 16 ahead of them. Neuer estimates the chances of FCB progressing as “fifty fifty.”
The Reds are “a classy team,” strong defensively and on the counter-attack. "But we’ve also seen that they’re vulnerable,” said Neuer adding that the opponents hold the utmost respect for the German record champions. “I think Liverpool don’t really want to play against FC Bayern now.”