Germany & Bayern Munich Keeper Manuel Neuer Brushes Off His Critics Following Tough Start to Season

?Bayern Munich and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has hit back at his critics after enduring a disappointing start to the season for club and country. 

In September 2017, Bayern Munich’s captain suffered an injury setback as he fractured his foot, leaving him sidelined until April after several delays in his recovery. 

Netherlands v Germany - UEFA Nations League A

Having only completed three Bundesliga matches and one Champions League fixture, Neuer was thrusted into Germany’s starting lineup for the World Cup. The 2014 World Cup winners subsequently crashed out of the tournament at the group stage and Neuer’s disappointing performances were criticised, with particular emphasis on his costly mistake against South Korea which led directly to a goal. 

However, despite receiving further criticism for his performance in Germany’s 3-0 loss to the Netherlands on Saturday, Neuer has expressed his satisfaction with how he’s been playing.

Speaking to Kicker, Neuer said: “I’m totally fit and have no problems. I feel good, also with respect to my foot. 


‘I’m in good form. Except for the situation with the 0-1, I was happy with my game, but recently it’s just been that I haven’t had a situation where I can shine.’

One of the Bayern Munich goalkeeper’s recent critics was German legend Lothar Matthäus, who said this to TZ: “Manuel Neuer does not currently have the form and confidence he had before his serious injury.”

Such is Neuer’s worrying form, there have been calls by the German supporters and media for Barcelona goalkeeper, Marc-André Ter Stegen, to start against France on Tuesday evening.

However, Germany manager Joachim Löw has since responded to these requests. “We want to be dynamic in our attack against France so there’ll be some changes but that won’t be the case with Manuel Neuer. He will be our man in goal tomorrow”, Löw said to the Daily Mail

All eyes will be on Neuer as Germany take on World Cup winners France in group A1 of the UEFA Nations League on Tuesday evening. Löw will be hoping his side can respond well to their 3-0 loss against the Netherlands and put in a more accomplished performance, as has become expected from Die Mannschaft

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6 Things to Know About €60m-Rated Serie A Goalscoring Sensation Krzysztof Piatek

It’s nearly 2019, superstar players don’t just appear out of nowhere anymore.

Every signing is meticulously scouted and reported upon, every wonderkid profiled and hyped up long before they actually burst onto the scene. Except for when they aren’t.

Enter, Krzysztof Piatek.

The 23-year-old Poland international was a virtual unknown but weeks ago. However, after topping the leaderboard in the early stages of the race for the European Golden Shoe with nine goals in seven games for Genoa in Serie A, he has been cannoned to superstardom and linked with (take a deep breath): Napoli, Inter, Roma, Juventus, Dortmund, Bayern, Man City, Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

Sporting director Giorgio Perinetti has acknowledged that the sharks are circling but insists that Piatek is Genoa’s ‘until June’.

Here are six things to know about football’s newest striking sensation…

1. He Cost Genoa Just €4m This Summer

Yes, really.

While Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have eight goals each so far in Ligue 1 for a combined fee higher than the GDP of Malawi, Piatek, who leads the European goalscoring charts with nine in Italy’s top flight (as well as four in one game in the Coppa Italia), cost just €4m from Polish side KS Cracovia this summer.

Piatek, who found the net 21 times last season for Cracovia, was a no-brainer for Genoa president Enrico Preziosi, who according to James Horncastle for ESPN, was still having sleepless nights about passing up the chance to sign another Polish hitman by the name of Robert Lewandowski a few seasons prior.

After taking the relatively low cost gamble, recent reports claim Piatek is worth €60m for Genoa now. 

2. The ‘New Lewandowski’

Quite possibly the most obvious comparison to make but not without merit.

Both are Polish (duh) and both are predatory number nines, capable of holding up play and using strength and penalty box instincts, rather than operating from a wide or deeper position.

Speaking to the generous comparison, Piatek told SportoweFakty (via FIFA.com): “I’ve been watching Robert since I was a youth player. I tried to imitate him. He always impressed me with his back to goal.”

The two played together for the first time at international level as Poland lost 3-2 to Portugal in the UEFA Nations League on October 11, with Piatek opening the scoring. 

As far as Genoa president Preziosi is concerned: “I can’t say anything other than: Krzysztof is potentially better, a lot better.” 

Well, no pressure then.

3. Cut from Poland World Cup Squad

Despite hitting over 20 in Poland’s top tier in 2017/18, Piatek (who was included in the 35-man preliminary squad), was one of the casualties of former manager Adam Nawalka’s final cut for the World Cup in Russia, as the boss opted for more experienced options up top.

Poland scored two goals in three games, crashing out of Group H, as Colombia and Japan progressed. Perhaps they could’ve done with a little more firepower…

4. Record Breaker

Nine goals in your opening seven games in your first season in Serie A is not bad going at all, but just in case that doesn’t impress you, check out these stats:

Piatek is the first player since Christian Vieri back in 2002 to score in each of the first seven game weeks of a Serie A season.

Piatek is also the first player since Andriy Shevchenko (1999) to score in his first five Serie A appearances.

Duck, meet water.

5. He Was a ‘Bum’ at School

While top level football is clearly not a problem for Piatek, it seems school was a different story, with the striker, in his own words, finding an escape from a tough life through the beautiful game.

“I was a bum at school,” he is quoted as saying on FIFA.com. “I never liked learning and stupid ideas used to come to mind. Many people from where I grew up have been lost. They got into drugs. I managed to escape. Football helped me. I was in love with this sport.

“I will never get carried away. I have achieved nothing yet. My family and my girlfriend keep my feet on the ground. I don’t sit for six hours a day in front of a computer or console like I used to. I like to work hard, to get tired. I pay attention to diet and training. 

“A few years ago my girlfriend persuaded me to learn English, saying it would help my career. Now it is very useful.”

Learning English you say?

6. Napoli Snubbed Him Back in 2016

While they’ve since been listed among the host of potential suitors headlined by the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Napoli might’ve snapped up Piatek two years ago according to one agent.

Football Prince Management representative Francesco Spisso told Calcio Napoli 24 (via Football Italia): “Our agency turned to our associates in Poland and they gave us the chance to represent him [Piatek]. We proposed him to numerous clubs, including Napoli in Italy.

“He wasn’t very expensive and was clearly a bargain, but Italian clubs struggle to believe in such a young player. 

“There was a chat with Napoli and they never even replied. They simply didn’t take him into consideration.”

Awkward.

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Arsene Wenger Tells Bayern Munich to Remain Committed to Manager Niko Kovac

?Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has offered his support to under-fire Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac, adding that Bayern must remain patient with the new manager.

After taking charge of the side this summer, Kovac already finds himself under enormous pressure after Bayern have failed to win any of their last four games in all competitions, leaving them sixth in the Bundesliga. His tactics have been widely criticised, and the humiliating 3-0 loss to Borussia Mönchengladbach only added to the growing list of problems for Kovac to address.

FC Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Bundesliga

Speaking at Per Mertesacker’s farewell match in Hannover, Wenger was asked about his feelings towards ?Bayern‘s current situation. He is quoted by German outlet ?B?ILD as saying: “I’m surprised, like all Germans, but not worried. They always come back. Bayern had a bad phase. 

“But for me, two things are important: That they now remain stable with Kovac and that the self-confidence is rebuilt within the club. Then there will be a strong Bayern team again.

FC Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Bundesliga

“There is so much stress in this profession today that the solidarity between the trainers is very, very important. In Germany, they also have very young coaches. Trainers who have good facilities to become very great coaches. 

“That’s why it’s so important that they find support when things are not going so well.”

Finally, Wenger hinted that he may soon be ready to return to management. He said: “I’m a bad football retiree. I have not stopped working at this level for 35 years. Maybe two or three months rest is not so bad for my health. Then it starts again.”

The Frenchman is widely regarded as one of the finest managers in the world, guiding ?Arsenal to a huge amount of success during his early years with the club. His 22 years with Arsenal came to an end this summer as he stepped down and allowed Unai Emery to replace him in the dugout at the Emirates.

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Bayern Munich Defender Joshua Kimmich Credits Pep Guardiola for His Impressive Development

?Bayern Munich defender Joshua Kimmich has revealed how praise from former manager Pep Guardiola played a huge part in his emergence as one of the world’s finest right backs.

Signed by the Spaniard in 2015, Kimmich has developed into a crucial player for the Bundesliga giants. Shortly after his arrival, he was passionately spoken to by Guardiola on the pitch following a 0-0 draw with Borussia Dortmund, in a moment which was widely feared to be a public humiliation for the youngster, only for the pair to embrace after all was said and done.

Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga

In an interview with ?The Daily Mail, Kimmich admitted he has fond memories of this moment, saying: “I enjoyed it. When someone is that emotional, this intensity for the game, this love for the game, I think that’s good. 

“When you know how he is, his type of being coach, his style of being coach, as a player you think it’s 100 per cent natural.”

The 23-year-old then went on to discuss his experiences of working under the current ?Manchester City manager. He said: “At RB Leipzig, we nearly only had a concept against the ball and now it was completely different as we had 70 per cent possession.

FC Bayern Muenchen v Ajax - UEFA Champions League Group E

“I played different positions. With Pep, it’s really important to know where team-mates are in every moment and also where the opponents are. 

“So you learn and get another feeling of the space. You know every time you get the ball I can pass it to this player and this player. 

“You know where your team-mates are, in which space. And so you think a bit different about the whole game of football.”

In his three years in Munich, Kimmich has made an impressive 134 appearances for the club. He is one of Bayern’s most important players, and has played every minute of his side’s matches this season, including cup matches and Champions League ties.

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Report Claims Bayern Munich Players Doubt Under Fire Manager Niko Kovac Amid Turbulent Start

Bayern Munich manager Niko Kova? has reportedly landed himself in a much more perilous position in Bavaria than the club are letting on and is even in danger of losing the dressing room.

The Croatian’s appointment at the Allianz Arena during the summer was unusual. Bayern Munich hadn’t appointed someone with a track record of success, like Carlo Ancelotti or Pep Guardiola in previous years, nor any number of Germany’s managerial wonderkids – notably Julian Nagelsmann, who will now join RB Leipzig in 2019.

Hertha BSC v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga

Two things that Kova?’s appointment did bring were excitement and uncertainty in equal measure. He had a reputation for succeeding with Germany’s underdogs, and Bayern Munich’s impressive start to the season suggested that the 46-year-old wouldn’t struggle to adapt to life with the reigning champions.

After failing to win each of their last four games, however, Kova? has come under intense scrutiny. While Bayern Munich are publicly backing the Croatian, ESPN claims that senior players already have doubts over their manager’s credentials moving forward.

Even some of Bayern Munich’s younger players have held internal talks to vent their frustrations at Kova?, who has kept the faith with the likes of Arjen Robben (34) and Franck Ribéry (35) in big games this season.

Kova? has been good on fitness levels and defensive organisation but the players expected solutions up front,” a source told ESPN. “And they got nothing.”

Although Bayern Munich will continue to support their manager, especially as Kova? remains a largely popular figure in Bavaria, these reports suggest that their results and one-dimensional attacking performances have to improve straight away.

Schalke 04 v Bayern Munchen - German Bundesliga

The Reds can start to get their season back on track when they travel to VfL Wolfsburg after the international break, with a Champions League trip to Athens coming just three days later, but all eyes will be on Der Klassiker on November 10 when Bayern Munich can really make a statement of intent against Borussia Dortmund.

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