Kevin De Bruyne, Robert Lewandowski and Manuel Neuer have made the shortlist for the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award for the 2019-20 campaign.

Manchester City playmaker De Bruyne, who recently won the PFA Players' Player of the Year award, is in the final three along with two Bayern Munich stars who helped their side to the treble last season.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk won the honour in the previous season, finishing ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

None of those three are on the shortlist this time, though, and whoever comes out on top will be a first-time winner.

Neuer missed only one game in Bayern's treble season and kept six Champions League clean sheets, while Lewandowski netted 55 goals in 47 appearances for Hansi Flick's team.

De Bruyne, meanwhile, produced a record-equalling 20 assists in the Premier League for City, adding 13 goals.

The final order of the top three is yet to be revealed, but UEFA has confirmed the occupants of positions four to 10.

Barcelona forward Messi came in at tie for fourth with Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar, while Juventus attacker Ronaldo was down in 10th spot.

Thomas Muller (6th), Kylian Mbappe (7th), Thiago Alcantara (8th) and Joshua Kimmich (9th) were the others who featured in the top 10.

Ronaldo has won the honour three times since it was first awarded in 2011, while Messi has claimed it twice.

Andres Iniesta, Franck Ribery, Luka Modric and Van Dijk were the other victors, with the award voted for by coaches and journalists.

Lucy Bronze, Wendie Renard and Pernille Harder are up for the Women's Player of the Year accolade in the 2019-20 awards.

Bayern head coach Flick, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and RB Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann are on the shortlist for Men's Coach of the Year.

The winners will be announced at the Champions League group stage draw ceremony on October 1.

Messi and Ronaldo also won the previous version of the award - UEFA Club Footballer of the Year – once each. That award was replaced after the 2009-10 season, when Diego Milito came out on top.

Joachim Low believes Manuel Neuer's Champions League final performance shows he would have deserved the 2020 Ballon d'Or ahead of Bayern Munich team-mate Robert Lewandowski.

France Football announced it would not present its annual award for the world's best player this year due to the coronavirus pandemic which halted some domestic competitions in 2019-20, including Ligue 1.

The decision has prompted suggestions Lewandowski has been harshly treated, having appeared the standout candidate to succeed Lionel Messi after his 55 goals fired Bayern to a stunning treble.

The striker, who was named Germany's Footballer of the Year, last week agreed he deserved the global honour.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge claimed earlier in August hope was not lost as FIFA had promised there would be a vote for the world's best player.

But Low, the Germany head coach, claims Bayern captain Neuer should pip Lewandowski to any award.

The goalkeeper was outstanding in the 1-0 Champions League triumph over Paris Saint-Germain, keeping Neymar and Kylian Mbappe at bay.

"Manu was in great shape throughout the 2019-20 season," Low told Kicker. "Manu is in a class of his own. Crazy, unbelievable.

"I have nothing against Robert Lewandowski - he is a top-class goalscorer - but, for me, the world's best footballer this year would be Manuel Neuer.

"What he has just done in this final round in Lisbon... He kept the door closed at the back.

"He had a very large role in winning the Champions League. Manuel was on hand in difficult situations against Lyon and Paris, otherwise it might be 0-1 or 1-1.

"You have the feeling that he is omnipresent."

The 2019-20 Champions League was ultimately lifted by the competition's most dominant team when Bayern Munich overcame Paris Saint-Germain at the weekend.

Kingsley Coman's second-half header to seal a 1-0 win was Bayern's 43rd of the season in Europe, securing an 11th victory from as many matches.

Unsurprisingly, Bayern players are very well represented in terms of the individual rankings for the tournament.

Drawing upon Opta data, we have a look at the highest goalscorers, the most prolific creators, the steadiest goalkeepers and more.

LEWANDOWSKI MATCHES RONALDO FEAT

Bayern's triumph was built upon the phenomenal goalscoring exploits of Robert Lewandowski, who became the second player in Champions League history to score 15 goals in a single campaign. Cristiano Ronaldo has accomplished the feat on three occasions.

The next generation was also handily represented, with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland also into double figures, although eight of his haul came for former club Salzburg.

Top scorers
15 – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
10 – Erling Haaland (Salzburg/Borussia Dortmund)
9 – Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)
6 – Dries Mertens (Napoli)
6 – Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
6 – Harry Kane (Tottenham)
6 – Memphis Depay (Lyon)
6 – Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

DI MARIA PREVENTS LEWANDOWSKI DOUBLE

Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria enjoyed a stunning semi-final outing against RB Leipzig, when he scored one goal and set up the other two in a 3-0 win.

That performance made the Argentina international the leading assist maker in this season's competition with six, pipping Lewandowski – who set up five goals for his free-scoring Bayern team-mates. The Poland superstar's 20 goal involvements overall was almost double the next best of 11 from Gnabry.

Joshua Kimmich set up Kingsley Coman's final winner with a magnificent cross and the Germany international created more chances than anyone else this season with 28, one more than Manchester City midfield maestro Kevin De Bruyne

Most assists
6 – Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain)
5 – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
5 – Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
4 – Houssem Aouar (Lyon)
4 – Hakim Ziyech (Ajax)
4 – Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
4 – Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)
4 – Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

Chances created
28 – Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
27 – Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
25 – Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)
24 – Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)
21 – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
20 – Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain)

THIAGO GETS DOWN TO THE DIRTY WORK

Few people will be surprised to learn that Bayern's silky playmaker Thiago Alcantara attempted the most passes in the competition by a distance – completing 90.9 per cent of his 832, significantly more than the 745 Kimmich racked up in second place.

However, the Spain international also ranked highly when it came to tackles and interceptions, showing even more of the qualities that have apparently caught the eye of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

Konrad Laimer topped the tackling charts – one of two Leipzig representatives in the top five -  while Borussia Dortmund's ex-Bayern centre-back Mats Hummels made the most interceptions.

Most tackles
38 – Konrad Laimer (RB Leipzig)
34 – Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich)
28 – Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid)
27 – Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax)
26 – Nodri Mukiele (RB Leipzig)

Most interceptions
30 – Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)
23 – Wilmar Barrios (Zenit)
23 – Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich)
19 – Sven Bender (Bayer Leverkusen)
19 – Fabian Ruiz (Napoli)

NEUER A SAFE PAIR OF HANDS

Bayern captain Manuel Neuer was arguably their star performer in the final, with three pivotal saves. The 34-year-old appeared to be back to his brilliant best in Lisbon and his 28 saves were the fifth-best in the tournament.

Neuer's save percentage of 77.14 is higher than any other keeper in the top five, while he managed to outperform his expected goals on target conceded (xGOT) number of 8.4 by conceding six.

That amounts to a very solid return on that metric but was not enough for a place in a top five headed by Ajax's Andre Onana.

Most saves and save percentage
33 (72.73 per cent) – Peter Gulacsi (RB Leipzig)
33 (70.21 per cent) – Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray)
33 (62.26 per cent) – Milan Borjan (Red Star Belgrade)
29 (76.32 per cent) – Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moscow)
28 (77.14 per cent) – Manuel Neuer

xGOT goals prevented
5.3 – Andre Onana (Ajax)
4.1 – Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray)
3.6 – Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb)
3.3 – Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)
3.1 – Peter Gulacsi (RB Leipzig)

The 2019-20 Champions League was ultimately lifted by the competition's most dominant team when Bayern Munich overcame Paris Saint-Germain at the weekend.

Kingsley Coman's second-half header to seal a 1-0 win was Bayern's 43rd of the season in Europe, securing an 11th victory from as many matches.

Unsurprisingly, Bayern players are very well represented in terms of the individual rankings for the tournament.

Drawing upon Opta data, we have a look at the highest goalscorers, the most prolific creators, the steadiest goalkeepers and more.

LEWANDOWSKI MATCHES RONALDO FEAT

Bayern's triumph was built upon the phenomenal goalscoring exploits of Robert Lewandowski, who became the second player in Champions League history to score 15 goals in a single campaign. Cristiano Ronaldo has accomplished the feat on three occasions.

The next generation was also handily represented, with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland also into double figures, although eight of his haul came for former club Salzburg.

Top scorers
15 – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
10 – Erling Haaland (Salzburg/Borussia Dortmund)
9 – Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)
6 – Dries Mertens (Napoli)
6 – Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
6 – Harry Kane (Tottenham)
6 – Memphis Depay (Lyon)
6 – Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

DI MARIA PREVENTS LEWANDOWSKI DOUBLE

Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria enjoyed a stunning semi-final outing against RB Leipzig, when he scored one goal and set up the other two in a 3-0 win.

That performance made the Argentina international the leading assist maker in this season's competition with six, pipping Lewandowski – who set up five goals for his free-scoring Bayern team-mates. The Poland superstar's 20 goal involvements overall was almost double the next best of 11 from Gnabry.

Joshua Kimmich set up Kingsley Coman's final winner with a magnificent cross and the Germany international created more chances than anyone else this season with 28, one more than Manchester City midfield maestro Kevin De Bruyne

Most assists
6 – Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain)
5 – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
5 – Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
4 – Houssem Aouar (Lyon)
4 – Hakim Ziyech (Ajax)
4 – Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
4 – Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)
4 – Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

Chances created
28 – Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
27 – Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
25 – Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)
24 – Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)
21 – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
20 – Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain)

THIAGO GETS DOWN TO THE DIRTY WORK

Few people will be surprised to learn that Bayern's silky playmaker Thiago Alcantara attempted the most passes in the competition by a distance – completing 90.9 per cent of his 832, significantly more than the 745 Kimmich racked up in second place.

However, the Spain international also ranked highly when it came to tackles and interceptions, showing even more of the qualities that have apparently caught the eye of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

Konrad Laimer topped the tackling charts – one of two Leipzig representatives in the top five -  while Borussia Dortmund's ex-Bayern centre-back Mats Hummels made the most interceptions.

Most tackles
38 – Konrad Laimer (RB Leipzig)
34 – Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich)
28 – Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid)
27 – Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax)
26 – Nodri Mukiele (RB Leipzig)

Most interceptions
30 – Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)
23 – Wilmar Barrios (Zenit)
23 – Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich)
19 – Sven Bender (Bayer Leverkusen)
19 – Fabian Ruiz (Napoli)

NEUER A SAFE PAIR OF HANDS

Bayern captain Manuel Neuer was arguably their star performer in the final, with three pivotal saves. The 34-year-old appeared to be back to his brilliant best in Lisbon and his 28 saves were the fifth-best in the tournament.

Neuer's save percentage of 77.14 is higher than any other keeper in the top five, while he managed to outperform his expected goals on target conceded (xGOT) number of 8.4 by conceding six.

That amounts to a very solid return on that metric but was not enough for a place in a top five headed by Ajax's Andre Onana.

Most saves and save percentage
33 (72.73 per cent) – Peter Gulacsi (RB Leipzig)
33 (70.21 per cent) – Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray)
33 (62.26 per cent) – Milan Borjan (Red Star Belgrade)
29 (76.32 per cent) – Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moscow)
28 (77.14 per cent) – Manuel Neuer

xGOT goals prevented
5.3 – Andre Onana (Ajax)
4.1 – Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray)
3.6 – Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb)
3.3 – Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)
3.1 – Peter Gulacsi (RB Leipzig)

Manuel Neuer proved the difference in the Champions League final, according to Thomas Tuchel, with the Paris Saint-Germain head coach claiming the Bayern Munich great "took goalkeeping to a new level".

Germany international Neuer produced inspired form during the final stages of the tournament in Lisbon, appearing back at the very top of his game after a couple of years struggling for form and fitness.

Parisian winger Kingsley Coman proved Bayern's matchwinner but Tuchel had no doubt over how decisive his compatriot Neuer proved at the other end of the field.

"That is, of course, a bit of a distortion of competition," he told Sky.

"We also have [Keylor] Navas, but Neuer is in top form at the wrong moment. 

"He took the goalkeeping game to a new level - unfortunately for us."

Neuer proved crucial during the goalless first half, with a fine double stop to deny Neymar before grasping a glorious opportunity that Kylian Mbappe struck too close to the 34-year-old.

After Coman opened the scoring, Neuer produced another excellent save with his right boot to preserve the advantage that ultimately led Bayern to a repeat of their 2012-13 treble.

Manuel Neuer confidently declared that Bayern Munich's current crop is better than the treble-winning side of 2012-13 following Wednesday's Champions League semi-final win over Lyon.

The Germany goalkeeper is better placed than most to offer such an opinion given he is one of the handful of figures remaining from Jupp Heynckes' all-star cast, which defeated Borussia Dortmund in the European showpiece at Wembley in May 2013 to make history.

It is certainly a claim that has merits and one that will have even more credence should Bayern defeat Paris Saint-Germain in Sunday's Champions League final in Lisbon to repeat the feat under Hansi Flick.

Ahead of the blockbuster clash at the Estadio da Luz, we have attempted to compare Bayern's team now against their treble winners.

GOALKEEPER/DEFENCE

The only difference between the posts is that Neuer is seven years older than he was when lifting the Champions League at Wembley.

His brilliance and importance to Bayern cannot be doubted, with Neuer keeping 21 clean sheets in 50 matches this season – conceding just 49.

He had 26 clean sheets and only 33 shipped from the same number of matches in the 2012-13 campaign, though.

Philipp Lahm, one of the greatest full-backs to have played the game, had 17 assists from right-back in that season, while it was David Alaba providing speed, agility and creativity on the opposite side.

Alaba has converted successfully to centre-back this term, partly because Bayern had an injury crisis in that position but also due to the phenomenal breakout season enjoyed by Alphonso Davies.

Davies has three goals and eight assists, not bad for a 19-year-old and pretty good in comparison to the five and five achieved by Alaba in 12-13.

Jerome Boateng is still going strong at centre-back, with Dante starting the Wembley final and Alaba having partnered him for the most part this term.

The sensational Joshua Kimmich has been playing at right-back in Lisbon as Benjamin Pavard has been contending with an ankle injury, with the Germany star having largely featured in midfield under Flick.

Verdict: With three of the five still remaining it is probably fair to call this area of the pitch as a draw, though there are several young options in the 2019-20 team that can continue to scale new heights.

MIDFIELD

Javi Martinez, still among Bayern's ranks, and Bastian Schweinsteiger held down the midfield fort for the 2013 Champions League final, with Toni Kroos – who had broken into the first team – having enjoyed a prominent role only to have his campaign ended by an injury in the quarter-finals.

In this year's knockout stages, Thiago Alcantara and Leon Goretzka have been the preferred two in central midfield but partly because Kimmich has been utilised elsewhere.

Schweinsteiger – a 2014 World Cup winner with Germany – is a legend at Bayern having won 18 trophies with Die Roten, with his nine goals and eight assists a very prominent return in the all-conquering Heynckes class.

Martinez has proven himself an extremely valuable squad player, not least due to his versatility, while Kroos has gone on to enjoy a legendary career with Real Madrid.

But the current crop oozes quality. Kimmich has mainly been used in midfield but is a world-class operator at full-back too.

Goretzka continues to grow in stature and has 15 goal involvements to his name this term, while his eye for a pass is crucial to exploiting Bayern's strength out wide.

Thiago's long-term future remains in doubt considering he is into the final year of his contract but few in world football are as good at setting the tempo or protecting the ball as the 29-year-old.

Verdict: There is no doubt the 2012-13 class can argue its own merits but the versatility, slickness and range of passing among this current Bayern side gives them the win.

ATTACK

Up front there can be only one winner. Lewandowski has been on a different level this season, producing numbers to rival Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the peak of their powers.

Lewandowski was playing for Dortmund the last time Bayern reached the final and will be their chief goalscoring threat against PSG.

The Poland star has 55 goals across all competitions, including 15 in the Champions League (only Ronaldo has ever scored as many in a single campaign).

It equates to a goal every 74 minutes, while Lewandowski has also contributed nine assists in all competitions this term.

Mario Mandzukic was admittedly influential for Bayern's treble-winning team, including scoring in the Wembley final against Dortmund.

That term, the Croatian had 22 goals (one every 130 minutes) and two assists – extremely valuable but not at the same level as Lewandowski.

When it comes to the supporting cast, it becomes decidedly more difficult to make a judgement. 

Thomas Muller is one of the few survivors from the 2013 team. The attacking midfielder has had a fine resurgence under Flick having looked destined for the exit door and has contributed 14 goals and 25 assists across all competitions, compared to 23 and 15 respectively in 12-13.

Out wide, Bayern had Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben – two of the finest wing artists of their generation. Right now, Serge Gnabry and Ivan Perisic have been holding those positions in the knockout rounds, while Kingsley Coman is a devastating option from the bench.

Ribery and Robben contributed 50 goal involvements between them, with Robben scoring the winner against Dortmund, during their treble season.

Gnabry alone has 36 goal involvements (more than either Robben or Ribery produced individually) during a campaign that has seen him break out as a world-class star. Perisic, a more workmanlike winger, has 15 and Coman 12.

Verdict: While Lewandowski is clearly an improvement in the striker position, the other forward roles are trickier to pick a winner. But the longevity of Robben and Ribery means they probably just about edge the argument, though Gnabry's trajectory means this an answer that could easily be reviewed in years to come.

Bayern Munich have more talent at their disposal now than when they last ruled Europe in 2013, according to captain Manuel Neuer.

Neuer, along with David Alaba, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller, was one of four players remaining from their Wembley triumph over Borussia Dortmund who started Wednesday's 3-0 semi-final triumph against Lyon.

Despite coughing up early chances to their Ligue 1 opponents, there was little doubt over the outcome after Serge Gnabry's fabulous opener – the initial part of a first-half brace from the Germany winger.

Robert Lewandowski, who played for Dortmund in the showpiece seven years ago, typically got in on the act with his 55th goal of the season, meaning only Paris Saint-Germain lie between Bayern and a sixth European title.

Hansi Flick's men collected the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal domestically and Neuer told reporters afterwards that this Bayern squad has greater depth than the group Jupp Heynckes led to a famous treble.

 "We are better positioned across the board," he said.

"Now we have a class that not only includes the 18-man squad, it is fantastic what a great team we have."

Such feats were impossible to envisage as Bayern struggled under Niko Kovac earlier this season.

Since the appointment of former Germany assistant Flick, they have been a team revitalised.

"Calm characterizes him, especially before games like this," Neuer said.

"He prepared us very well for the games, no matter which opponent we played against.

"We always have a plan. You can see the result on the pitch."

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said he was saddened to see German rival and Barcelona counterpart Marc-Andre ter Stegen concede eight goals in Friday's Champions League quarter-final humiliation.

Bayern embarrassed LaLiga giants Barca 8-2 in Lisbon, where Neuer's team-mates became the first team in Champions League history to score eight goals in a knockout match.

Thomas Muller and Philippe Coutinho braces, and goals from Robert Lewandowski, Ivan Perisic, Serge Gnabry and Joshua Kimmich saw Barca concede eight goals in a game for the first time since 1946.

Neuer – Germany's number one keeper – spared a thought for countryman Ter Stegen post-match.

"I'm a little sorry for Marc-Andre Ter Stegen that he conceded so many goals," said Neuer.

"It's good for us, of course, but you wouldn't wish that to any team-mate from the national team."

On the match itself, Neuer said: "You could see that we didn't let up a minute and that we always wanted to keep playing forward. Of course, Barca are also strong offensively.

"We know that goals can come. We tried to play on Barca goal until the very end. Accordingly, we were also successful."

Bayern star Thiago Alcantara produced an impressive performance against former side Barca.

Thiago – tipped to join Premier League champions Liverpool – won two LaLiga titles and the Champions League among other honours before leaving Barca for Bayern in 2013.

"For respect for my friends, the club I've been to and my colleagues, I think they are a great club and that they will turn around any situation that comes their way," the Spaniard said.

Manchester City or Lyon await Bayern in the semis and Thiago added: "This result gives us more confidence, more against a team like Barca, but we know that it was only to go to the next round and we have not won anything, we have played as if it were a final only to go to semi, nothing more."

European heavyweights Barcelona and Bayern Munich face off at the Estadio da Luz on Friday in the pick of the Champions League quarter-finals.

While plenty of focus will be on hotshot attackers Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski, it may well be at the other end of the field where the one-legged tie is decided.

German compatriots Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Manuel Neuer are two of the finest goalkeepers of their generation, playing a huge part in their clubs' success on the field.

But there is a feeling Ter Stegen is not recognised as the star he is in his own country, which is largely down to the presence of Neuer – Germany's long-standing number one.

And to further fan the flames, Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge last week claimed he is not yet at the same world-class level as Neuer, who is six years older.

Using Opta stats for the 2019-20 season, we compare the rival stoppers in a number of different departments to establish who is truly the better all-round keeper.

Games played (all club competitions)

Ter Stegen: 45
Neuer: 48

Total Passes

Ter Stegen: 1529
Neuer: 1784

Average number of passes per game

Ter Stegen: 33.98
Neuer: 37.17

Passing accuracy

Ter Stegen: 85.87
Neuer: 86.66

Shots faced

Ter Stegen: 461
Neuer: 422

Average number of shots faced per game

Ter Stegen: 10.24
Neuer: 8.79

Saves

Ter Stegen: 107
Neuer: 110

Goals conceded

Ter Stegen: 42
Neuer: 47

Expected goals conceded

Ter Stegen: 49.34
Neuer: 51.44

Expected goals on target conceded

Ter Stegen: 46.36
Neuer: 50.74

Average goals conceded inside the box

Ter Stegen: 36
Neuer: 41

Average goals conceded outside the box

Ter Stegen: 6
Neuer: 6

Save percentage

Ter Stegen: 71.62
Neuer: 69.48

Average number of goals conceded per game

Ter Stegen: 0.93
Neuer: 0.98

Clearances (including punches)

Ter Stegen: 32
Neuer: 22

Errors leading to goals

Ter Stegen: 3
Neuer: 2

Errors leading to shots (including goals)

Ter Stegen: 7
Neuer: 6

Manuel Neuer hopes Liverpool target Thiago Alcantara can be persuaded to stay at Bayern Munich, describing him as "our engine in midfield".

On the eve of the Champions League last-16 second leg against Chelsea, captain and goalkeeper Neuer stressed how important the former Barcelona player has become over seven years at Bayern.

Thiago has one year left on his Bayern contract and the club would be reluctant to see him leave on a free transfer in 2021.

One alternative to that prospect would be cashing in on him now, with Premier League champions Liverpool apparently keen on taking him to Anfield.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has praised Thiago, describing him as "a great player", but has declined to speak any further about the Spaniard.

Asked about the influence of Thiago, and the possibility of him being in his final days as a Bayern player, Neuer stressed he hoped the Chelsea game was not the beginning of the end for the 29-year-old in Munich.

"I hope that it won't be one of the last matches of Thiago," Neuer said.

"He had to undergo surgery at the end of the season but now he's back and 100 per cent. He's a very valuable player for us, especially in ball possession. He's very important for us. He's our engine in midfield actually."

Bayern lead Chelsea 3-0 from the first leg of their European tie, so with home advantage on Saturday they should have little trouble making sure of a quarter-final place.

Lisbon will stage the Champions League from the last eight onwards.

Neuer says Bayern are eager to complete a treble, having already won the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal in Germany this season.

"We have played a good season and a successful season so far," he said. "We're still hungry and still committed. We have the objective right in front of us.

"We won the league, we won the cup, and now we want to win to achieve this next objective that we have.

"First we have to overcome Chelsea and then it's the knockout stage. They are very high calibre clubs in this competition. We know from our experiences with the national team, for example, that every mistake could cost a lot and you have to really pay attention.

"We've worked together very well for three and a half weeks and we want to achieve a lot."

From the quarter-final stage onwards, it will be a straight knockout event, with two-leg games abandoned to allow the tournament to be completed in the shortest possible time.

"You can achieve a lot, but of course you can also lose a lot in such a format," Neuer said.

Thomas Muller felt Bayern Munich's DFB-Pokal final victory over Bayer Leverkusen was a "sad moment" because the game had to take place behind closed doors. 

Bayern have been in electric form since top-flight football in Germany resumed after the coronavirus shutdown, storming to an eighth consecutive Bundesliga title before closing out another campaign of domestic dominance with a 4-2 win in Berlin on Saturday. 

David Alaba's brilliant free-kick opened the scoring at the Olympiastadion and Serge Gnabry doubled the advantage. 

Although Leverkusen improved considerably after the break, Robert Lewandowski scored a brace to move past 50 goals for the campaign and seal glory. 

Nevertheless, playing at Germany's most famous stadium without fans led to mixed emotions for Muller.

"It's a bit of a sad moment," he told ARD.  "When the fans are missing at a cup final like this, it's not the same. 

"We did well for most of the way, but it hurts a little bit too." 

Wherever they were watching, once again Bayern supporters had plenty to enjoy from a team revitalised under Hansi Flick, who will now aim to repeat the 2012-13 treble when the Champions League concludes next month.

"We leave the stadium proud that we have achieved this," Flick told Sky. "What the team has achieved in the last few weeks is sensational. The attitude is simply fantastic.

"I am very, very happy. The way the team performs is extraordinary."

There was little doubt over the destination of the trophy after Gnabry drilled home an unerring finish in the 24th minute.

"We are so lucky to have won the double today," he told Sky.

"In the first half we had the game completely under control, we could have scored one or two more goals.

"Then Leverkusen had a lot of counter-attacks, but in the end we won 4-2, and that's the most important thing."

Manuel Neuer is one of the survivors of Bayern's last treble season and the captain is eager to go all the way again.

"We have experienced in the last few weeks how motivated and hungry FC Bayern is," Neuer told Sky.

"What we have achieved is something very special. The attitude was sensational.

"We have a little break now, and then we'll prepare ourselves at the top and of course try to bring in the treble."

Hansi Flick and Manuel Neuer were delighted to welcome Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich on Friday but quickly turned their attention back to the DFB-Pokal final.

Bayern have confirmed the long-anticipated arrival of Sane from Manchester City on a five-year deal.

But the Bundesliga champions have little time to reflect on their successful pursuit of the winger as they prepare to take on Bayer Leverkusen in Berlin on Saturday in the second leg of their treble bid.

Flick said of his new signing: "We're happy, but it's not the time to talk about it."

Captain Neuer was slightly more forthcoming when asked about his Germany team-mate Sane, but his primary focus is on lifting another trophy.

"I hope [Sane] can win the Pokal with Bayern in the future," he said. "We Bayern players are happy that he will be with us next season."

Flick hopes to have Niklas Sule back involved, with his defence tasked with containing Leverkusen's Kai Havertz, another Germany international linked with Bayern.

Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz says his side cannot rely solely on 21-year-old Havertz.

"He is important but cannot win the game alone," Bosz said. "I don't think the game has anything to do with his future."

Flick agreed individual quality alone would not decide the day, adding: "Both teams have very good players, but you cannot be successful alone.

"You need a good team effort. We shouldn't think about who the top player is."

Manuel Neuer wants to captain Bayern Munich until 2023 and is hoping to lead them out in a home Champions League final at the Allianz Arena in 2022.

The Bayern goalkeeper and skipper on Wednesday signed an extension to a contract that was due to expire at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

He is now tied to Bayern until 2023, though he will have added competition from next season, when Alexander Nubel will join from Neuer's former club Schalke.

However, Neuer clearly has designs on retaining his place as number one between the posts and wants to keep the armband for the duration of his deal.

"I am convinced by our team and the whole club and I am sure we will be playing successful football throughout the coming years," he told club media. 

"Of course, we have some goals we can reach within this current season. We have a good team for the next few years and it is a lot of fun working for FC Bayern, also as captain. This is also my job and I want to continue until 2023."

Bayern lead the Bundesliga - which resumed last weekend having been suspended since March because of the coronavirus pandemic - by four points.

They are also in the DFB-Pokal semi-finals and hold a 3-0 lead over Chelsea from the first leg in the Champions League last 16.

Neuer is hopeful Bayern can complete the treble and has an eye on May 2022, when the Champions League final comes to his home stadium 10 years after their penalty shoot-out defeat to Chelsea on the same stage at the same venue.

"You start every year from the beginning of course wanting to win it all. There is now the championship to win this year and we are still in every competition," he added.

"But right now it is a different situation for us and everyone has to adjust to the current situation, not only us football players.

"One of our big goals for the next few years is definitely having the chance to play a home Champions League final, like we did in 2012. 2022 will be another European final in Munich, which is a great incentive for me and the whole team.

"It would be a dream for us all to be able to reach this final at home."

Manuel Neuer is set for three more seasons at Bayern Munich after penning a contract extension until 2023.

The Germany international has established himself as one of the greats of the modern era and is well-placed to win an eighth consecutive Bundesliga title.

The 34-year-old also counts the 2012-13 Champions League and 2014 World Cup among his career honours, but recent seasons have raised questions over whether he remains the same peerless operator he was during those mid-decade glory days.

Alexander Nubel's pending arrival from Schalke suggests Bayern are keen to insure themselves against any dip in form from their club captain over the coming years, so it feels a good time to ask - is Neuer still an elite goalkeeper when compared to contemporaries widely considered to be at the top of their trade?

HEADING BACK IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Sunday's 2-0 win at Union Berlin saw Neuer chalk up his 11th Bundesliga clean sheet of the season.

Aside from the 2017-18 campaign, when injuries restricted him to three top-flight outings, he has reached double figures for shutouts every year of his senior career – dating back to 2006-07 when he managed 13 from 27 games at former club Schalke.

However, having stopped around four of every five shots for the majority of his Bayern days, Neuer's save percentage plummeted to 59.7 last season, while his 23 goals conceded outstripped Opta's expected goals on target (xGOT) number of 20.1.

xGOT gives an indication of the number of goals a goalkeeper should concede based upon the quality of shot faced.

This term, Neuer has those numbers in the right order once more. Although 26 let in is already his highest figure in the Bundesliga since his final season at Schalke (a whopping 44 in 2010-11), his xGOT number is 29.5 and his overall save percentage is back up to a more respectable 70.1.

TER STEGEN PRESSING A CASE FOR DIE MANNSCHAFT?

Having stood apart as Germany's number one for the best part of a decade, Neuer has seen Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen make an increasingly strong case to displace him in the national team.

Neuer's fitness woes coupled with a disappointing 2018 World Cup performance played a part, while Ter Stegen has arguably established himself as Barca's most important player not named Lionel Messi.

This campaign, Neuer is statistically out-performing his Germany rival. Ter Stegen has conceded 29 times with an xGOT reading of 26, while he has managed eight clean sheets from 26 LaLiga matches.

Last season, Ter Stegen's efforts made for very impressive reading, however, with 16 clean sheets and 32 goals conceded in 35 top-flight matches.

His xGOT was up at 38.3 and his save percentage was 72.7 – better than 65.5 this time around.

Both men have shown themselves to be fine proponents of the modern art of sweeper keeping, although Neuer is more active in this regard of late. According to Opta, Ter Stegen has five "keeper sweepings" to his name in each of the past two seasons, with Neuer making nine and 17.

OBLAK THE LEADER OF THE PACK

Looking beyond Germany's number one and two goalkeepers, there is a clear standout performer.

Jan Oblak's virtuoso display at Anfield as Atletico Madrid ended Liverpool's Champions League defence in March was enough to hearten any keeping enthusiast over the intervening barren months.

Such heroics are not unusual for the Slovenia star, who conceded 27 goals despite an xGOT number of 40.3 in 2018-19.

Oblak finished with 20 clean sheets last season, a figure Neuer touched in the back-to-back 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns at Bayern. Remarkably, Oblak had 24 league shutouts (and a save percentage of 81.8) in the latter, while he amassed 22 in 2017-18.

This time around, he only has 11 and his save ratio is below 75 per cent for the first time in his Atleti career, and 21 goals conceded compared to xGOT 22.3 has levelled out.

Oblak's two keeper sweepings in 2019-20 underlines his reputation as more of an "old school" goalkeeper, rather than someone accustomed to raiding out of their penalty area.

DE GEA COMING OFF HIS PEAK

Manchester United's David de Gea is also a player who would be counted as being at odds to the new wave of players between the posts, although a dip in his imperious levels has left the Spain international facing similar questions to Neuer over the past couple of seasons.

If United's second-place finish in the 2017-18 Premier League was one of Jose Mourinho's greatest achievements, it certainly ranks as one of De Gea's. He saved in excess of 80 per cent of shots and kept 18 clean sheets, conceding 28 times in 37 matches.

De Gea has already let in more in 2019-20 (30), while he shipped 54 in an increasingly error-strewn 2018-19. Although, perhaps it is as much a case of performances reverting to a mean and not bailing out some haphazard defending in front of him.

In the past two seasons, United's expected goals against (xG) – based upon the quality of chances afforded to opposition players – read 51.2 and 30.2.

SAFE HANDS AT THE BACK OF KLOPP'S MACHINE

Liverpool have transformed from great entertainers to a relentless winning machine since Alisson arrived from Roma in 2018, with Adrian's flimsy showing against Atletico in European competition serving as an uncomfortable reminder of the recent past for the Reds.

Able to build from the back, Brazil's number one has 29 keeper sweeping in a 58-game Premier League career, while also dealing well in the old currency of clean sheets, tallying up 31 in the competition.

Undoubtedly well protected by a defence led by Virgil van Dijk, Alisson is reliable when called upon. His 2019-20 save ratio is up to 80.4 from 77.1 per cent.

Last season, he out-performed his xGOT of 27.5 by letting in just 22, although 11 conceded is slightly higher than a staggeringly low 9.7 xGOT in 2019-20.

That number drops from an xG against of 17.5, suggesting Alisson – who missed an early chunk of the current season due to a calf injury – has also benefitted from wasteful finishing by opponents during Liverpool's march towards the title.

Manuel Neuer's contract extension is a strong statement of intent from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, according to Oliver Kahn.

Neuer agreed terms until 2023 on Wednesday, with his previous deal having been due to expire in 2021.

The news laid to rest doubts over the goalkeeper's future, with the impending arrival of Schalke's Alexander Nubel potentially heralding a new era between the sticks.

Former Bayern keeper and current board member Kahn was delighted to see the 34-year-old commit to the club, who are eyeing an eighth consecutive top-flight title. 

"Another big decision for a successful future! Manuel Neuer is the captain and one of the most important pillars of our team," Kahn tweeted.

"He embodies great years of German football and we're happy to continue the way of FC Bayern together.

"This extension is a strong signal."

Neuer told Bayern's website he was looking ahead "with great optimism", revealing he felt "very comfortable and at home in Bavaria", having arrived at the club from Schalke in 2011.

Hansi Flick's side returned to Bundesliga action following the coronavirus-enforced lockdown with a 2-0 win at Union Berlin on Sunday, with Neuer in the starting XI.

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