Neuer: I removed Bayern armband to ease the tension

The Germany international says that he felt more comfortable without the armband during the Bavarians’ 5-3 penalty shootout win at the BayArena

Bayern Munich ace Manuel Neuer has revealed that he removed the captain’s armband during Wednesday’s shootout success over Bayer Leverkusen in order to ease the pressure on him.

The goalkeeper was given the armband when Philipp Lahm was replaced midway through the second half but the elected to take it off when the DFB-Pokal clash went to penalties.

That move surprised many pundits but Neuer has now explained that he did not want to have to deal with any additional psychological burden during a high-pressure shootout.

“It felt right,” the 29-year-old told the DFB’s official website after helping his side to a 5-3 spot-kick success by stopping Josip Drmic’s effort.

“There is always a slight tension when you wear it and you need to do everything possible to be as comfortable as possible when you have a shootout.

“I think every penalty, including from Leverkusen, was taken very well. It’s obviously very tough for any team to lose on penalties.

“It was fair for the game to go to penalties after 120 minutes and we were lucky to have come out on top in the end.”

Neuer was particularly pleased that Bayern had managed to prevail despite the unavailability of a number of key players, including wing wizards Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.

However, the shot-stopper added that the current injury crisis at the Allianz Arena has had a galvanising effect on Pep Guardiola’s squad.

“This was already clear after the Dortmund game [Saturday’s 1-0 win at Signal Iduna Park]. I think the team has been brought closer together,” Neuer added.

“This is important going into the next few weeks. Every fit player is vital for us. 

“We’re aware of the injuries and we are hoping that one or two can come back quickly.

“The most important thing for us now is to recover as quickly as possible, stay fit and go into the next game.”

Bayern’s triumph at the BayArena means that the Bavarians remain on course for a treble, given they are currently 10 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga and set to face Porto in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

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