Manuel Neuer plays well on return at Hertha Berlin
FC Bayern had to do without their captain Manuel Neuer for almost a month after a shoulder issue kept the 36-year-old out for the past seven games. The goalkeeper celebrated his comeback in the record champions' 3-2 win away at Hertha Berlin on Saturday. "It was nice. I'm glad to be back," Neuer said after his first 90 minutes in four weeks.
Neuer's qualities were needed early on in Berlin. "I was in the game relatively quickly because I had something to do early on and was involved in the game. That's why I was on fire straight away," the Bayern keeper said, describing the opening moments of the game. He had to save Dodi Lukébakio's shot at the near post in the fourth minute before also holding onto an effort from Davie Selke six minutes later, stopping Bayern from trailing early on.
Brilliant save against Richter, strong technique against Lukébakio
Three weeks before the start of the World Cup, Neuer showed that the Germany national team goalkeeper is capable of world-class performances despite his one-month hiatus, as shown in the 27th minute of the match at Hertha. The 36-year-old made a great save from Marco Richter's shot to claw the ball away from the corner of the goal. Neuer also proved that his sweeper-keeper skills had not suffered at all during his time away from the pitch, anticipating a long ball from Jean-Paul Boëtius and beating Selke outside the penalty area in the 19th minute. And in the 88th minute, Neuer cleared a Berlin attack with great skill up against Wilfried Kanga.
The Bayern goalkeeper could do nothing to stop Lukébakio (40') and Selke (45') - the two goals he conceded before the break. "Of course I would've been happy to keep a clean sheet. The first goal was unnecessary. We didn't man mark well. If we defend that way, we could lose 1-0," said Neuer.
Two games left until the World Cup:
The Bayern captain is as fit and ambitious as ever. "Every now and then I feel a twinge, that's quite normal. I feel very well and can do everything. I had no problems in training and today too," said Neuer. Two Bundesliga games - on Tuesday against Werder Bremen at the Allianz Arena and on Saturday at Neuer's former club Schalke - are still on the agenda for FCB before the World Cup break. Both FC Bayern and the Germany national team can rely on a Manuel Neuer in top form!
The reaction from the game: