Manuel Neuer: The Bayern Munich & Germany Legend Who Revolutionised Goalkeeping

Manuel Neuer is number 17 in 90min’s Top 20 Greatest Footballers of the Decade series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next four weeks.


There was a time, long ago, when goalkeepers were judged specifically on their shot-stopping abilities. Pundits would analyse their positioning, command of the penalty area, aerial strength and of course, their reactions and reflexes. 

Let’s skip to 2011. Inter legend Dejan Stankovic has just scored one of the greatest Champions League goals ever, drilling a brilliant volley from just inside the opposition’s half into an empty net. 

Plenty of jokes were made at the expense of the young Schalke goalkeeper, who came charging recklessly out of his penalty area to head the ball away. 

Little did we know, we’d just witnessed the beginning of a new era, and a performance of the soon-to-be greatest goalkeeper in the world. Manuel Neuer ripped up the script, swept it under the turf, and with one diving header from outside of his own box, the sweeper-keeper was reborn.

​Neuer rose through the Schalke ranks, making a name for himself in Germany as a talented young shot-stopper – albeit a little erratic. The youngster played the game with a bravery and boldness that was rare in goalkeepers of any age or stature, and he quickly grew into one of the hottest prospects in Europe. 

His style was unorthodox at that time, risky and sometimes costly. He positioned himself much further from his own goal than the average keeper, ready to act as an 11th outfield player in both defence and attack. Neuer was, and still is, exceptional at reading the game, sensing danger and rushing to meet the ball before it came close to his own goalmouth. 

Manuel Neuer

He is as comfortable with the ball at his feet as any outfield player, and regularly joins attack and pushes forward when his team are in search of a goal. In layman’s terms, he was a new kind of maverick who made the world stand up and take note. 

He made goalkeeping cool. 

Neuer’s style didn’t come without its hiccups and embarrassing moments, but this prestigious talent was breaking the mould, and reshaping the way the last line of defence would play for the foreseeable future. 

It wasn’t long before the ​Schalke man got his move, headhunted by the best team in the country and destined to create history. Neuer joined ​Bayern Munich in 2011 for €30m, a transfer which caused great friction between the shot-stopper and his former supporters. 

Signing for Bayern means one thing: you have to be the best. It didn’t take long for the German giants to realise they’d invested wisely. At the time of his arrival, Der FCB were not the powerhouses they are today, and they fell short across all competitive fronts during the 2011/12 season. 

From that moment on, Neuer and Bayern have never looked back. 


Together, the aforementioned partnership has secured seven consecutive league titles, after the disappointment of his debut season at the Allianz Arena. The German was at the peak of his powers when he claimed the Champions League trophy in 2013, and only a year later would then pick up the biggest prize in world football. 

Germany won the World Cup in 2014, and Neuer was unsurprisingly voted the stand-out goalkeeper of the tournament. He was a man-mountain between the posts, and he firmly cemented his legacy as one of the all time greats. 

When judging a player’s success and status within the game, many use a lack of trophies as a stick to beat talented footballers with. 

No one can use that jibe this time. 

Neuer has won everything there is to win, both as part of a team and individually. The Bayern man was nominated for the Ballon d’Or in 2015, a prize usually contested by strikers and creative forwards. The German international came in third place, an incredible feat and a reflection of how much his contribution to the beautiful game is truly appreciated. 

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In recent years, Neuer’s relevance has waned somewhat. The new generation of goalkeepers are beginning to flex their muscles; talented number one’s like Alisson and Ederson are leading the way on the sweeper-keeper movement. 

But it’s impossible to see this new breed between the posts without remembering the man who began it all. Injuries are catching up with Neuer, as is the unforgiving passing of time. His best years are clearly behind him, but the Bayern captain still has plenty to offer to the sport. 

When the footballing population is asked to name the best players in history, goalkeepers are rarely mentioned. It seems unfathomable that someone who literally changed the way our sport is played becomes an afterthought in conversation when discussing the very best. 

Manuel Neuer

But without Neuer, we quite possibly wouldn’t have the current ​Manchester City and ​Liverpool goalkeepers to enjoy. Perhaps they would have been trailblazers for this offensive style of keeping, or perhaps they wouldn’t have even dreamt of being a dynamic, daring number one, without the footsteps of our German giant to follow. 

The day in which Neuer hangs up his gloves will be a sad day for football, but it will also be a moment to look back and appreciate how far our game has come, and how much we owe to the charismatic and courageous Germany goalkeeper. 

Danke, Manuel Neuer.


Number 20 – Arjen Robben: The Flying Dutchman Who Became a Modern Legend at Bayern Munich

Number 19 – Mohamed Salah: The Humble King Who Conquered Rome and Took Liverpool By Storm

​Number 18 – Sergio Aguero: The Man Who Painted Manchester Blue With One Kick of a Football


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Champions League Final: The Next 4 Venues That Will Host in 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023

UEFA are set to announce the venues that will host the Champions League final in 2021, 2022 and 2023 next week (Sky Sports), with this year’s showpiece already confirmed for Istanbul.

Here’s a closer look at each of the stadiums that will be used for the next four years….


Ataturk Olympic Stadium (2020)

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City: Istanbul, Turkey

Capacity: 76,761

The Ataturk Olympic Stadium was the first-ever Turkish venue used for the European Cup or Champions League final in 2005, hosting the historic clash between Liverpool and AC Milan.

Located in the Basaksehir neighbourhood of Istanbul, it is primarily home to the Turkey national team, although a handful of club sides have also used it since it was opened in 2002.

Istanbul Basaksehir were based there for seven years until 2014, while Besiktas were the most recent tenants until their own new stadium was opened in 2016.


Krestovsky Stadium (2021)

Chile v Germany: Final - FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017

City: Saint Petersburg, Russia

Capacity: 68,000

Usually home to Zenit St Petersburg, the Krestovsky Stadium was opened in time to host seven games at the 2018 World Cup and will host a further four at Euro 2020 next summer.

The only time Russia has previously hosted the Champions League final was in 2008 when Manchester United and Chelsea met at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, but Saint Petersburg as a city has never yet hosted a major European final.

Russian clubs have won the UEFA Cup/Europa League but never the Champions League.


Allianz Arena (2022)

FC Bayern Muenchen v Ajax - UEFA Champions League Group E

City: Munich, Germany

Capacity: 75,000

The Allianz Arena in Munich was the setting for the 2012 Champions League final as Chelsea beat Bayern Munich against the odds, with the Germans missing the opportunity to become only the third club to be crowned European champions in their own stadium, and the first since 1965.

Germany has held a final more recently when Berlin was the venue for 2015.

Munich actually hosted the first-ever Champions League final in 1993 at the Olympiastadion when the competition was re-branded for the modern era, with Marseille beating AC Milan.


Wembley Stadium (2023)

England v Spain - UEFA Nations League A

City: London, UK

Capacity: 90,000

Old and new, the Wembley site has been the chosen venue for as many as seven past European Cup and Champions League finals, including famous games in 1968 as Manchester United beat Benfica and 1992 as Barcelona beat Sampdoria.

The 2023 final will be the third Champions League final specifically at the new stadium after Barcelona outclassed Manchester United in 2011 and Bayern Munich edged the only ever all-German final against Borussia Dortmund in 2013.

Wembley will be in the international spotlight before then, however, as it has been selected to host both semi-finals and the final at Euro 2020 next summer.


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Burnley vs Norwich Preview: Where to Watch, Buy Tickets, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

​Burnley host the much-heralded Norwich City at Turf Moor in the Premier League on Saturday, as Sean Dyche’s men hope to spoil the promoted side’s party. 

Burnley have struggled since their opening day thrashing of Southampton, failing to pick up another victory in their opening five games. 

Sean Dyche

Norwich, meanwhile, sit one point above the Clarets in the table, having shocked the footballing world with their win over title holders ​Man City. 

The Canaries not only picked up the three points, but also played excellent football, demonstrating what they are capable of in England’s top division. 

Here’s 90min’s preview of the game. 


Where to Watch

​When Is Kick Off? ​Saturday 21 September
​What Time Is Kick Off? ​15:00 (BST)
​Where Is it Played? ​Turf Moor
​TV Channel/Live Stream? ​BBC Final Score/BT Sport Score (UK)
​Referee? ​David Coote


Where to Buy Tickets

Tickets for the game are, as ever, available on both teams’ official club websites, though membership is required in order to purchase. In terms of resale, both teams provide the option to make season tickets available for others to use, if a supporter is unable to attend the game themselves. 


Team News

Johann Berg Gudmundsson could return for Burnley having been out with a calf injury, although ​Danny Drinkwater remains sidelined with the ankle injury he sustained in a nightclub brawl.

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On the other hand, ​Norwich are riddled with injuries, with long-term absentees including Timm Klose, Christoph Zimmermann, Onel Hernandez, Tom Trybull and Max Aarons. 

Mario Vrancic and Moritz Leitner are also likely to be missing, although Patrick Roberts is available once again, having been unable to face his parent club last weekend.


Predicted Lineups

​Burnley ​Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters; Gudmundsson, Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Barnes, Wood.
​Norwich Krul; Byram, Amadou, Godfrey, Lewis; Tettey, McLean; Buendia, Stiepermann, Cantwell; Pukki. ​

Head to Head Record

​Burnley have the slight edge over Norwich historically, winning 19 games and losing 14. The two have never competed against each other in the Premier League, however.

Jeff Hendrick,Dwight McNeil,Matej Vydra,Ashley Barnes

The last competitive meeting between Burnley and Norwich resulted in a 4-1 victory for the latter, in a FA Cup third round clash. Jay Rodriguez was on the scoresheet for the Clarets that day, with a consolation effort. 


Recent Form

Burnley enter this game in poor form, having not won since the opening day of the season. Last weekend saw Jeff Hendrick clinch a last-minute equaliser in a game otherwise dominated by ​Brighton.

Ben Godfrey

Norwich, while only one point ahead, head into this match with much more optimism, having overcome Pep Guardiola’s Man City last weekend.

Otherwise, the Canaries have been beaten by respectable opponents in ​Liverpool, Chelsea and ​West Ham, picking up three points elsewhere versus Newcastle, in which Teemu Pukki bagged a hat-trick.

Here’s how each team has performed in their last five fixtures:

​Burnley Norwich​
​Brighton 1-1 Burnley (14/9) Norwich 3-2 Man City (14/9)
Burnley 0-3 Liverpool (31/8) ​West Ham 2-0 Norwich (31/8)
Burnley 1-3 Sunderland (28/8) ​Crawley 1-0 Norwich (27/8)
​Wolves 1-1 Burnley (25/8) Norwich 2-3 Chelsea (24/8)
​Arsenal 2-1 Burnley (17/8) Norwich 3-1 Newcastle (17/8)

Prediction

Norwich are on cloud nine at the moment, whereas Burnley badly need a win to stop the rot. 

Ben Mee,James Tarkowski

Burnley will surely give Norwich little space to play their football, remaining compact and difficult to beat. 

That being the case, expect an even game where Norwich are frustrated. 

Prediction: Burnley 1-1 Norwich.

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Arsenal vs Aston Villa Preview: Where to Watch, Buy Tickets, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

​Arsenal return to the Emirates this weekend, as they look to bounce back from a terrible performance against Watford, in which they squandered a two-goal lead.

Aston Villa are the opposition, a side desperate to have their Premier League campaign kick start into gear after an iffy start to the season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang,Granit Xhaka,David Luiz

Unai Emery will want his men to make a statement, with the pressure piling on the manager and his group of players. However, Villa know they can make this a sticky affair, as they did against Spurs in the first gameweek of the season.

Here is 90min’s preview of the game.


Where to Watch

When Is Kick Off? Sunday 22 September
What Time Is Kick Off? 16:30 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Emirates Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream? N/A
Referee? Jonathon Moss

Where to Buy Tickets

Tickets for the game are, as ever, available on both teams’ official club websites, though membership is required in order to purchase. In terms of resale, both teams provide the option to make season tickets available for others to use, if a supporter is unable to attend the game themselves. ​


Team News

Good news for the Gunners – Rob Holding is in contention to start, although it may be a little too early for the centre back to come straight back into the team.

Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are also both back in full training, but are not as close to getting into the first team as Holding is.​ 

Calum Chambers could also find himself back in the starting XI, with ​David Luiz and Sokratis currently resembling the Chuckle brothers.

Rob Holding

​Villa welcome back Trezeguet from suspension, and will hope the Egyptian can add some more quality into their attack.

More good news for Villa – Matthew Targett is closing in on a return after suffering a hamstring injury.


Potential Lineups

Arsenal Leno; Maitland-Niles, Chambers, Luiz, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Guendouzi; Pepe; Ozil, Ceballos, Aubameyang.
Aston Villa Heaton; Guobert, Engels, Mings, Taylor; Grealish, Luiz, McGinn; Jota, Wesley, Trezeguet.

Head to Head Record

A fixture that goes all the way back to 1903, ​Arsenal have played Villa a whopping 193 times, with the Gunners leading the head to head with 82 wins to the Villans’ 66​.

Villa have lost their last six against Arsenal, and won just the once in the last 12 meetings. Their last victory came on the opening day of the 2013/14 season, with Villa coming out with a famous 3-1 win at the Emirates.

Olivier Giroud

​The last time the sides played each other was on the final day of the 2015/16 season, with Olivier Giroud scoring a hat-trick in a 4-0 win.


Recent Form

After winning their opening two games, Arsenal are without a win in their last three, including that disastrous performance against Watford.

Aston Villa have struggled this season, with just one win in the league. They picked up a draw in their last game against West Ham, despite the Hammers playing the last 20 minutes with ten men.​

Jack Grealish

Arsenal

Aston Villa

Watford 2-2 Arsenal (15/9) Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham (16/9)
Arsenal 2-2 Spurs (1/9) Crystal Palace 1-0 Aston Villa (31/8)
Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal (24/8) Crewe 1-6 Aston Villa (27/8)
Arsenal 2-1 Burnley (17/8) Aston Villa 2-0 Everton (23/8)
Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal (11/8) Aston Villa 1-2 Bournemouth (17/8)

Prediction

Despite a poor performance against Watford, Arsenal are much more formidable at home, and will be confident of recording a win this weekend.

Villa know that they will have to be faultless to come away with anything from the Emirates, but they have shown that they are capable of frustrating other team’s attacks for long periods.

Dani Ceballos

However, with ​Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in fantastic form, the Gunners will undoubtedly be favourites, and should come out as winners, piling more misery on Dean Smith’s men.​

Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Aston Villa 

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Crystal Palace vs Wolves Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

​Crystal Palace and Wolves come head to head this weekend, on the back of both teams receiving thrashings from Tottenham and Chelsea respectively in their last Premier League outings.

Palace were thumped 4-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and Roy Hodgson will hope what occurred in the first half of that defeat was nothing more than a blip.

Tammy Abraham

Wolves, on the other hand, have been struggling all season in the Premier League. But a 5-2 loss at home to Chelsea would have been deeply distressing for Nuno Santo, and regardless of whether or not the added pressure of the Europa League is causing problems to his squad, he needs to find the answers – and fast. 

Here is 90min’s preview of the ​game.


Where to Watch

When Is Kick Off? Sunday 22 September
What Time Is Kick Off? 14:00 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Selhurst Park
TV Channel/Live Stream? N/A
Referee? Stuart Attwell

Team News

Martin Kelly and Connor Wickham are still ruled out for Palace, while Scott Dann and James Tomkins may be brought back into the squad following injury.

James McArthur was sorely missed by the Eagles last week and, if he’s deemed fit, is likely to come back into the side.

James McArthur

​Wolves have no injury concerns at all, but may be forced to rotate some some players due to the Europa League game against Braga on Thursday.


Potential Lineups

Crystal Palace Guaita; Ward, Cahill, Sakho, Van Aanholt; Milivojevic, McArthur, Kouyate; Zaha, Ayew, Schlupp.
Wolves Patricio; Coady, Boly, Vallejo; Traore, Dendoncker, Neves, Saiss, Jonny; Jota, Cutrone.

Head to Head Record

Palace have played Wolves 65 times, with the Wanderers leading the head to head with 26 wins to the Eagles’ 21.  

However, Nuno’s men have picked up just one win in their last six against Palace, with that 1-0 victory coming at Selhurst Park last season.

Luka Milivojevic

The last meeting between the two ended with an impressive 2-0 Palace victory at Molineux, with Jordan Ayew and Luka Milivojevic both scoring in the last ten minutes of the game.


Recent Form

Prior to the loss at Spurs, ​Palace were having a decent start to the season, sitting fourth in the league with a win at Old Trafford to their name.

Wolves have struggled in the league, with three draws and two losses in five games. They are also the only side left who have not led for a single minute this season. ​They will be desperate for something to change.

Ruben Neves

​Here’s how the teams have performed in their last five games.

Crystal Palace Wolves
Spurs 4-0 Palace (14/9) Wolves 2-5 Chelsea (14/9)
Palace 1-0 Aston Villa (31/8) Everton 3-2 Wolves (1/9)
Palace 0-0 (4-5) Colchester (27/8) Wolves 2-1 Torino (29/8)
Man United 1-2 Palace (24/8) Wolves 1-1 Burnley (25/8)
Sheff Utd 1-0 Palace (18/8) Torino 2-3 Wolves (22/8)

Prediction

This is a very tricky game for both sides, but home advantage could prove pivotal for Palace.

With Wolves also playing in the Europa League three days before, it is likely that the squad will be fatigued and the side will almost certainly be rotated in some capacity.

Wilfried Zaha,Jordan Ayew,Victor Camarasa,James McCarthy

Juggling domestic and European commitments has proven to be Wolves’ downfall this season, and Hodgson will know that he can make the most of it.

As a result, the Eagles will feel confident in compounding Wolves’ early season misery.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-1 Wolves

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