Bayern Munich keeper Manuel Neuer said he had never been happier after making his Bundesliga comeback from a year out with injury in his side’s 8-0 demolition of Darmstadt 98 on Saturday.
The 37-year-old Germany keeper played for the first time in the league since November 2022, after breaking a leg during a skiing holiday following Germany’s early World Cup exit in December last year.
“I’m very happy, the happiest I’ve ever been after a game,” said Neuer, who captained his team on Saturday. “I was positively excited but not nervous. I was a bit curious as to what would happen.”
Neuer looked on track to be back at his best, making several superb saves in the first half, but spent most of the second half with little to do as Bayern scored eight times after the break.
“I was really happy to be back in the Allianz Arena, to play in front of the fans and to be on the pitch again,” he said.
While he got his starting spot back from reserve keeper Sven Ulreich, Neuer still needs to fight for his Germany spot with Euro 2024 next year on home soil and with Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen having been first choice during his absence.
Neuer had been Germany’s first-choice keeper for 13 years until his injury.
“I’m not thinking about that (national team) at the moment; I am thinking about Bayern,” Neuer said. “(Germany) coach Julian Nagelsmann called me yesterday and wished me all the best for the game.”
Neuer also received high praise from his club coach Thomas Tuchel on Saturday.
“Manuel thinks two steps ahead, you can tell from the tactics talk and his training. He realises situations early and adapts his game,” Tuchel told a press conference.
“You cannot rate it high enough, the mindset needed to come back from such an injury. He was always convinced but to pull it off is a sensational performance from him. He deserves the highest respect. He played sensationally today.”
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