The matchday nine of the Bundesliga saw Bayern Munich clinch another emphatic victory as they hammered eight second-half goals against SV Darmstadt. Harry Kane ran the show in the final third with a sensational hattrick along with an assist.
Along with the goal fest, it was a memorable afternoon for the Bavarian faithful got the chance to see their skipper Manuel Neuer back in the goal. The German goalkeeper played his first competitive game since breaking his leg in December last year.
Neuer didn’t have to do anything sensational on Saturday, but he looked sharp while making a couple of decent saves. He is likely to get better with more playing time under his belt. The German goalkeeper had to go through several setbacks during the recovery process, so it was pleasing to see him leading the team back at Allianz Arena.
The 37-year-old will look to build on the performance against Darmstadt in the coming weeks. Bayern are expected to start him in every game from now on since he has completed the recovery from a serious injury. Neuer is likely to get a call-up for the German national team in the next international break. While talking to AZ on Saturday, Neuer insisted that he is relaxed about his role in Germany ahead of next summer’s Euros on home soil.
"“I think ter Stegen is definitely #1 at the moment. We have great goalkeepers in Germany and are all looking forward to the Euros. I was in contact with Julian Nagelsmann yesterday and he wished me good luck. For me everything is totally relaxed.”"
Barcelona’s Marc Andre ter Stegen has been starting all games for Germany in the last ten months. While it has not been a productive spell for Germany, Ter Stegen delivered decent performances. The 31-year-old continues to deliver solid performances for Barcelona, which suggests that he may keep his place in the starting XI under Julian Nagelsmann.
Neuer has also lost the captaincy of the German national team. Ilkay Gundogan was appointed as the new captain of Germany in September by Hansi Flick. After the departure of Flick, Julian Nagelsmann also insisted that Gundogan would continue to lead the team even if Manuel Neuer returned to the squad.
It does look like Neuer will have a reduced role with the German national team. Neuer is keen on playing in Euro 2024, but it remains to be seen if he is ready to play the backup role for Germany in the tournament.
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Bayern would like Neuer to succeed on the international stage with Germany. However, playing only club football at this stage may benefit Neuer. He is in the twilight of his career, so it would be better to take a back seat in one team to manage the mental and physical workload.