Monday, April 15, 2024
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Neuer: “We have to grow up”

The defeat in Leverkusen has left its mark. However, FC Bayern have the chance to respond quickly this Wednesday in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 at Lazio Roma. Captain Manuel Neuer hopes for a turnaround and demands more maturity from his colleagues

The good news for FC Bayern was announced by captain Manuel Neuer right at the start of the press conference in Rome. “My knee is doing quite well,” said the goalkeeper. He still has “slight discomfort, but not so much that I can’t train or play”.

His interim breaks are for recovery, so he will be fit for the game at Lazio Rome on Wednesday. Naturally, he is looking forward to this duel with anticipation, as he will be back on the pitch in a Champions League knockout game for the first time in almost two years. The last time was in Munich’s quarter-final exit against Villarreal in April 2022.

Even then, FC Bayern was already known to have problems. Things haven’t got much better since then. The 3-0 defeat in Leverkusen last Saturday was another setback for Munich. “We haven’t fully digested or coped with the game yet,” said Neuer: “It was the most important game in the Bundesliga”, for which we had been looking forward to and preparing for weeks. It hurts all the more “when you go down like that.”

In the past few days, coach Thomas Tuchel has “analyzed everything” and “addressed the points openly”, says the 37-year-old: “We have to take a good look at ourselves.” And wake up as quickly as possible: “We have to learn from our mistakes – as quickly as possible.” That also means behaving more maturely on the pitch. “We have to grow up,” demanded the Munich goalkeeper. What he means by that: more communication, more organization, more discipline. In the best case scenario, to get back the self-image.

Because at the moment “we’ve perhaps lost our ease”, said Neuer: “We at Bayern have to play with a certain amount of conviction – more than just 15 or 20 minutes.” For him, too, it is sometimes incomprehensible why the team then loses the thread with an opponent’s action such as the 0:1 from Leverkusen, for example.

And, above all, why they are then unable to find their way back into their own game. Nevertheless, Neuer is hoping for a quick learning process, which should already be evident against Lazio on Wednesday. And ideally for a turnaround at a struggling FC Bayern.

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