Bayern Munich squad preview 2023/24: Goalkeeper

Bayern Munich goalkeepers Manuel Neuer and Sven Ulreich. (Photo by Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images)
Bayern Munich goalkeepers Manuel Neuer and Sven Ulreich. (Photo by Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images) /

It is with an ironic twist that we conclude this four-part series previewing Bayern’s 2023/24 squad with a look at the goalkeeper position, not only because it resembles a conundrum of sorts, but also for the horrific leg injury Manuel Neuer suffered in a skiing accident while on holiday last December, which left Bayern in a state of bother as to the goalkeeping situation.

After undergoing surgery for the injury in the same month, there was initial hope and expectation that Neuer would be fully recovered in time to start the 2023/24 season. So, as things unfolded, Bayern did well to sign Yann Sommer from Borussia Monchengladbach for a contract until July 2025.

There was reportedly a release clause or transfer agreement in Sommer’s contract that allowed him to leave this summer since he will not be the first-choice goalkeeper in the presence of Manuel Neuer. Unsurprisingly, with the understanding that Neuer would be guaranteed a starting spot during the upcoming season once fully fit, the Swiss international shot-stopper decided to exercise his option and joined Inter Milan a few days ago.

Unfortunately for Neuer and Bayern, the recovery from leg injury has not gone as per plan. The German goalkeeper had to undergo another surgery in the summer to remove metal implants from his leg. As things stand, there is no fixed date set for Neuer’s return to action.

In the absence of Manuel Neuer, Sven Ulreich started in the goal for Bayern against RB Leipzig in DFL Supercup. The Bavarian club had 19-year-old Tom Ritzy Hulsmann as the number two on the bench during the defeat against RB Leipzig.

Ulreich is not to be blamed for the loss whatsoever. He has done a fairly good job at Bayern in two stints, but having him as number one at the age of 35 would not inspire the confidence needed for Die Roten to be challenging for trophies on all fronts, let alone the Bundesliga. Meanwhile, the youngster on the bench is very inexperienced to play in the goal for Die Roten.

Unfortunately, unless a new goalkeeper joins Die Roten within the next few days, that may very well be the case when Bayern kicks off its Bundesliga title defense against Werder Bremen.

In hindsight, one could speculate that if Alexander Nubel was guaranteed just a little playing time in spite of Neuer’s command between the uprights, as was reportedly the plan when he first joined the club in 2020, the goalkeeping conundrum could have been averted.

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With hindsight being 20/20, Bayern have until the close of the current transfer window (first of September) to make an all-important decision. Finding a world-class goalkeeper willing to keep the proverbial seat warm until Neuer returns to full fitness, if indeed he does return to full fitness, was never going to be an easy task. Neuer remains the first choice option for Thomas Tuchel, but a new goalkeeper is needed until the German international returns to action. Manchester City’s Stefan Ortega is the main target for Die Roten for this position now after losing out on other options throughout the summer.