Does Neuer provoke the ejection?: The days until the showdown with Nagelsmann are numbered

Does Neuer provoke the expulsion?
The days until the showdown with Nagelsmann are numbered

By Ben Redelings

The mystery surrounding Manuel Neuer’s memorable interview has still not been solved. What exactly did the FC Bayern Munich captain want to achieve with his frank words? But no matter what it is: A collaboration with coach Nagelsmann seems out of the question!

“That’s right, yes.” It is now almost six years since these four words in an interview in the “Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung” announced the end of his time at Borussia Dortmund to the then BVB coach Thomas Tuchel via the media. BVB Managing Director Aki Watzke answered this sentence, which came with an enormous explosive force, in an interview when asked whether there was a dissent between him and Tuchel.

Watzke’s open-hearted words didn’t just slip out of him at the time. But on the contrary. The experienced BVB managing director had built the bridge for the release of Thomas Tuchel, which can no longer be prevented from now on at the latest. The tablecloth between the then coach and the Dortmund club management was cut – now the public should also find out. This interview, which today’s Sport1 editor-in-chief Pit Gottschalk conducted with Watzke at the time, had no other meaning or purpose.

The fracture as a strategic goal?

In his newsletter “Fever Pit’ch” this morning, Pit Gottschalk once again raised the all-important question (“What was the aim of Manuel Neuer with his interview?”) – but against a background that most readers probably at first glance may not be that common. Because this conversation with the two journalists Raphael Honigstein (“The Athletic”) and Philipp Selldorf (“Süddeutsche Zeitung”) only serves a specific purpose and was, one can and must assume, deliberately staged by the Neuer camp. In other words: Planned and executed with a concrete idea of ​​what this interview should ultimately trigger and aim for. Now, however, one can first diligently puzzle over what this plan actually contained – and whether there might still be a few meters between the actual idea and the achievement of the goal.

Pit Gottschalk suspects that Manuel Neuer could have aimed for the “final break” with the Bayern leadership. An obvious suspicion, because unlike thirteen years ago, when Philipp Lahm attacked the top management of FC Bayern Munich in a memorable interview, in particular for their transfer policy, thereby underpinning his newly won leadership role in the national team and at Bayern, Manuel Neuer is acting exactly as Oliver Kahn stated unequivocally and directly, not in the sense of the club’s “common goals”.

However, it is doubtful whether Manuel Neuer really wanted to provoke the final break with his interview, i.e. his expulsion. With the European Championship next year in his own country, Neuer still has a major sporting goal – and he will certainly not jeopardize it so lightly with a possible elimination from the record champions. Because the question that the Neuer camp will of course have asked itself before this conversation: Where could the Bayern captain go after being kicked out?

There will be consequences

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It is probably more the case that Munich’s long-time goalkeeper, with his revealing interview, clears the stage for a real showdown between him and Bayern Munich’s coach, Julian Nagelsmann. Nagelsmann, who is certainly not entirely uncontroversial in team circles, finally “tore his heart out” by dismissing his friend and goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic. An emotional statement that, in times of interviews that have been clinically washed out several times, makes you sit up and take notice – and suggests a level of debate that seems far removed from a purely factual consideration of future career steps.

At the moment Manuel Neuer can only make headlines with words due to injury. This interview is all the more important. The wedge the keeper set with this headline-grabbing conversation will have consequences. In any case, a (successful) return under coach Julian Nagelsmann seems impossible. For FC Bayern, this means that the management team will have to make a decision in the coming weeks and months. Neuer or Nagelsmann?

But maybe this decision will be made for Bayern on the pitch. After the two games in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain you will probably know more. And that brings us back to the beginning of this text. Thomas Tuchel certainly still has a score to settle with BVB. And which club other than Bayern Munich is the best place to settle this?

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