Thomas Muller has overtaken Bayern Munich team-mate Manuel Neuer as the player with the most Bundesliga wins in history.

Muller won his 323rd game in Germany's top flight as he helped Bayern beat Mainz 3-1 on Saturday.

That sets him clear of Neuer as the outright leader for Bundesliga victories.

Muller's contribution at Mewa Arena was limited as he replaced Kingsley Coman as an 88th-minute substitute, but with fellow Bayern legend Neuer still sidelined by injury, that brief cameo saw Muller edge ahead of his team-mate to claim the record for himself.

Goals from Coman and Harry Kane put Bayern 2-0 up within 16 minutes before Anthony Caci pulled one back for the winless hosts, but Leon Goretzka's second-half strike ensured Bayern ran out 3-1 winners.

The victory maintained Bayern's unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season, though Thomas Tuchel's men still trail surprise contenders Bayer Leverkusen and Stuttgart at the summit.

Muller's standout stats

Muller has played 449 Bundesliga matches, 127 more than any other Bayern player since he made his debut in August 2008.

The 34-year-old has created 884 chances for his team-mates in that time, with Franck Ribery (536) ranking a distant second for the Bavarian giants.

Of current Bayern players, Joshua Kimmich (505) is the closest to Muller, who has directly contributed to 306 Bundesliga goals, another team-high. Robert Lewandowski is second, with 273 goal contributions.

Lewandowski (238) is the only player to have scored more Bundesliga goals for Bayern than Muller (144) since the latter made his bow for the club, while the Germany international has provided 162 assists, almost 80 clear of second-best Ribery (85).

Muller has had 2,448 touches in the opposition box, over 500 more than any other Bayern team-mate since he made his Bundesliga debut, while he has also had the most duels (4,314), winning 1,904 of them.

 

His best goalscoring season came in 2015-16, when he netted 20 times in the Bundesliga and provided five assists.

However, it was in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons that Muller provided his most goal contributions in the Bundesliga, with 29 in each campaign.

Muller netted eight times in 2019-20, but supplied 21 assists. The following term, he teed up 18 goals and scored 11 himself.

Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel says Saturday’s opponents RB Leipzig are a “dangerous” proposition for his team.

Leipzig have won their last two encounters with Bayern, including the season-opening DFL-Supercup last month.

Tuchel’s men have recovered well to lead the Bundesliga with 13 points from their opening five matches, with England striker Harry Kane’s seven goals spurring them on.

Leipzig sit a point and three places further back, but the trip to Saxony will arguably present the toughest challenge yet to Bayern in this season’s Bundesliga campaign.

“They’re dangerous as a collective, very unified as a team,” Tuchel said of Leipzig at his pre-match press conference.

“Leipzig are very clear in their processes, we fully recognise their qualities.

“We’ve lost our last two games against them, which hurt. We’ve been on a good run since the Supercup defeat, and now it’s about backing that up.

“The mood is good, the mentality is right. The time has come to turn the tables, but it will certainly be difficult.

“We’ve been very focused and confident in the last few games. Now it’s another step up. Leipzig have a very strong squad.

“They’ve managed changes well. They’ve beaten us recently, which we don’t like.

“It’s about coming up with a response and continuing from where we’ve left off recently. We know it’s a difficult task, but we’re confident enough to say we’re going to Leipzig to win.”

Bayern are set to be able to call on former Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, along with fellow defender Kim Min-Jae and attacker Thomas Muller after they trained with no adverse effects this week following injuries.

Forward Serge Gnabry is set to miss out with an arm injury, while Dutch defender Matthijs De Ligt suffered a knee injury in the 7-0 victory over Bochum last weekend and is also expected to be out.

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer returned to partial training for the first time this week since his leg fracture in a skiing accident last winter, but is still some way off making a return to playing.

Tuchel added on Neuer: “It’s very good news. Manu did a partial integration. It wasn’t an intense session and he did parts of it. We mustn’t get carried away. It’s another step.

“Once he’s fully in training things can progress quickly, but he’s still some way off that.”

Amadou Haidara has trained following a muscle injury to be available for Leipzig, but Timo Werner will miss out due to a back problem.

Willi Orban and Dani Olmo are absent due to injuries suffered on international duty, while El Chadaille Bitshiabu is still sidelined by a medial ligament tear.

Bayern Munich captain Manuel Neuer has returned to training for the first time since breaking his leg last December.

The 37-year-old goalkeeper was on holiday after Germany’s exit from the World Cup at the group stage and suffered the injury skiing, forcing him to have surgery.

He was immediately ruled out for the season, with Bayern bringing in Switzerland keeper Yann Sommer during the January window – who has since left to join Inter Milan.

A Bayern statement read: “Manuel Neuer is back with the FC Bayern goalkeeper team on the pitch.

“In Monday morning’s training session for the players who didn’t start against FC Augsburg on Sunday, the 37-year-old captain completed a session with his goalkeeping colleagues for the first time since breaking his lower right leg.

“Neuer has been sidelined since sustaining the injury in December 2022 but has now taken the next step on the comeback trail.”

Barcelona's determination to bring Lionel Messi back to Camp Nou is going to be a major storyline during the next transfer window.

But their pursuit of the 2022 World Cup winner is complicated given the Blaugrana's financial situation.

As a result, Barca's squad are on notice, with expectations that key players may need to be offloaded.

 

TOP STORY – PREMIER LEAGUE TRIO TO SWOOP FOR RAPHINHA

Raphinha is set to be sold by Barcelona in the off-season with three Premier League clubs circling for his signature, according to reports.

The Blaugrana will need to let Raphinha go to free up space for Messi to return given the club's financial issues, claims Fichajes. Messi is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain at the end of this season.

Raphinha joined from Leeds United last year and his stay could be short. AS claims Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle United are all interested in the 26-year-old.

 

ROUND-UP

– Milan forward Rafael Leao has declined offers from both Real Madrid and Chelsea, claims La Gazzetta dello Sport.

– Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic is drawing interest from Manchester United , according to Croatian outlet Jutarnji, with the Red Devils uncertain on David de Gea 's future.

Chelsea are tracking Brentford pair David Raya and Ivan Toney, reports Football London.

– Football 365 claims Aston Villa are circling for Emile Smith Rowe,  who is "disappointed" with his lack of game time at Arsenal.

– Leicester City defender Caglar Soyuncu's planned move to Atletico Madrid is signed and sealed, according to Fabrizio Romano. The Turkish defender's contract will run until 2027.

– Sky Germany's Florian Plettenberg claims Yann Sommer could leave Bayern Munich in the off-season, with new head coach Thomas Tuchel set to restore Manuel Neuer to the side when he returns to full fitness.

Thomas Tuchel declared Bayern Munich are "dying for revenge" after their humbling by Manchester City as he revealed Manuel Neuer is stepping up his comeback from injury.

The Bayern head coach oversaw a 3-0 defeat at City in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday.

It was only in the last quarter of the game that City brought down the hammer, taking advantage of generous defending from the Bundesliga leaders.

Many would suppose the tie is all but over, yet Tuchel does not see it that way, with Bayern looking to make their home advantage count in the second leg next Wednesday.

"It's important not to lose focus," Tuchel said. "The task seems almost impossible, but nothing is impossible in football. I can feel that we are dying for revenge and the second leg."

Neuer will play no part in that game against Pep Guardiola's City, but the Bayern captain is making promising progress after the broken leg he suffered when on a skiing holiday after Germany's early exit from the World Cup.

There is no expectation of Neuer featuring again this season, which continues for Bayern with a home Bundesliga clash on Saturday against a Hoffenheim side who have won three games in a row.

"At the moment it is a great pleasure to watch Manuel Neuer in rehab every day," Tuchel said.

"Yesterday he did the first goalkeeper-specific exercises in the rehabilitation area. That gave me a good feeling to see he's making some good steps forward.

"I'm 100 per cent sure that Manu wants to come back to play at the highest level. We encourage him along the way, he is our captain and the captain of the German national team as well."

It remains to be seen, once Neuer is fit, whether he swiftly takes back the first-team goalkeeping role from Yann Sommer, who was brought in from Borussia Monchengladbach in January as an emergency recruit.

In 17 games for Bayern, Sommer has a save percentage success rate of only 63.79, compared to Neuer's 75.44 per cent before he was injured.

It would be a huge decision not to reinstate Neuer, even though at 37 he has entered the twilight years of his career.

"He's a great personality in German sport," Tuchel said. "He gets every possible support and Yann also gets every possible support."

Tuchel also backed Dayot Upamecano, who was at fault for City's second goal when he haplessly lost possession to Jack Grealish when striding out of defence, creating an opening for the hosts that saw Erling Haaland cross for Bernardo Silva to head in.

Upamecano had a shaky second half and looked out of his depth at times, but Tuchel believes the France defender has plenty to offer.

“We have to protect our players. He knows himself that he made mistakes. I don't have to tell him," Tuchel said. "But at this level, where he took the decisions with a lot of risk, we don't want to see that. We have been badly punished for it.

"In the second half he was a bit insecure which is a pity because he was in top form before that. We support him, talking openly about it. We need to be critical here and there, but he needs to feel that nobody plays the blame game."

Bayern Munich shocked the Bundesliga by making a dramatic change in the dugout, replacing Julian Nagelsmann with Thomas Tuchel.

The decision came with Borussia Dortmund posing a serious threat to Bayern's hopes of an 11th consecutive league title.

Tuchel arrives with Bayern sitting one point off the Bundesliga summit and through to the Champions League quarter-finals, with the former BVB and Chelsea boss facing several pressing tasks.

Fending off his former club's challenge for domestic glory and plotting a route past Pep Guardiola's Manchester City will be among the immediate concerns, but there are others requiring Tuchel's attention.

From the futures of club stalwarts Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller, to the need to suitably replace Robert Lewandowski, there will be plenty to keep Tuchel occupied until the end of the season and beyond.

Here, Stats Perform looks at five of the most pressing tasks facing Tuchel on his return to Germany.

Fix Bayern's sloppy backline

While Bayern boast the Bundesliga's best defensive record with 27 goals conceded this term, Tuchel – who was successful in making Chelsea tough to beat in his last managerial assignment – will be keen to examine a series of shortcomings at the back.

Having beaten Augsburg 5-3 in Nagelsmann's penultimate game at the helm, Bayern suffered a damaging 2-1 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen last time out, with Benjamin Pavard and Dayot Upamecano clumsily conceding a pair of second-half penalties.

With Nagelsmann known for employing a high defensive line and adopting an aggressive approach, Bayern have often appeared too open this campaign.

Of the Bundesliga-high 13 errors leading to shots made by Bayern players this season, three have resulted in goals, while last year's big-money recruit Matthijs de Ligt is yet to establish himself as a dominant defensive presence.

Tuchel's Chelsea kept five clean sheets in seven Champions League knockout games en route to being crowned European champions in 2021 – he will be confident of having a similar impact in his new job, given the defensive talent at his disposal.

 

Make crucial Neuer decision

The most controversial incident in Bayern's season before the change of coach came in January, when captain Neuer hit out at the club's decision to fire close friend and goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic.

Those comments were met with a furious reaction from the club's hierarchy, throwing Neuer's future in Munich into doubt.

A series of injuries – the latest a broken leg sustained during a skiing holiday – have limited Neuer to 16 appearances across all competitions this term, and with Yann Sommer's arrival giving Bayern two top-class goalkeepers to choose from, Tuchel has a decision to make.

While Neuer boasts a better save percentage (75.44 per cent) than Sommer (64.1) for Bayern this term, the 2014 World Cup winner will be 37 by the time he returns to fitness, and there may not be room for both shot-stoppers in Bayern's long-term plans.

Find Lewandowski's successor

No discussion of Bayern's inconsistent season would be complete without a mention of their failure to find an adequate replacement for goal machine Lewandowski.

Lewandowski left for Barcelona last year, having led the Bundesliga's scoring charts in six of his eight seasons with Bayern (2015–16, 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20, 2020–21 and 2021–22).

The Poland international hit 35 goals in as many league appearances in his final season with the Bavarian giants. This term, Jamal Musiala is their top Bundesliga marksman with 11 goals, one ahead of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

While having five separate players on double figures across all competitions this term is no bad thing (Choupo-Moting, Musiala, Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry and Sadio Mane), an established successor to Lewandowski is surely required.

 

Solve the Mane conundrum

On a related note, getting the best of last year's marquee arrival Mane will also be high on Tuchel's to-do list, with the Senegal attacker yet to hit the heights he reached at Liverpool.

Injuries and mixed form have meant Mane has started just 14 of Bayern's 25 league games, failing to net in any competition since a 6-2 win over Mainz in October.

Tuchel's previous success with a fluid forward line could bode well for Mane. In his only full Premier League campaign with Chelsea, the Blues were only outscored by Manchester City and Liverpool, with a plethora of players chipping in as the returning Romelu Lukaku fell out of favour.

 

Examine Muller's role

While the acquisition of a centre-forward will surely be at the forefront of Bayern's plans at the end of the season, the Bavarians' chances of short-term success could hinge on finding a regular role for Muller.

Muller, who became Bayern's all-time leading outfield appearance maker in the Bundesliga last month, has started just 14 league games this campaign, but his tally of 11 goal contributions (four goals, seven assists) in just 1,062 minutes demonstrates his lasting quality.

With Nagelsmann alternating between 4-2-3-1 and 3-5-2 shapes in recent weeks, Muller has featured in a number 10 role – where he previously thrived under Hansi Flick – and in a front two.

With high-stakes clashes against Dortmund and City on the horizon, Tuchel's first month at the helm could prove decisive, and finding a place for the experienced Muller could help the new boss make a flying start.

 

Thomas Muller will be left out of Hansi Flick's upcoming Germany squad, but the head coach has not "shut the door" on the Bayern Munich forward.

Muller is fourth on his nation's all-time caps list (121) behind only Lothar Matthaus (150), Miroslav Klose (137) and Lukas Podolski (130), while his tally of 44 goals puts him seventh.

A World Cup winner in 2014, the 33-year-old said he would contemplate his international future following Germany's group-stage exit from the 2022 tournament in Qatar.

Muller has been directly involved in 11 goals for Bayern this season (scored four, assisted seven), with only Jamal Musiala (eight) registering more assists for the Bundesliga leaders.

However, Flick revealed the forward will play no part in the friendlies against Belgium and Peru later this month, though the head coach has left the door open for a potential return with Germany hosting next year's European Championship.

"I discussed with Thomas that he will not be called up to the games in March and June," Flick told Suddeutsche Zeitung.

"I want to give younger players a chance with the national team. But that doesn't mean that his Germany career is over or that he won't play a role at the Euros.

"He sees things the way I do. As a national team player, you don't retire. You either get a call-up or you don't, and he's now on hold until the summer.

"Why would I shut the door on a player like that forever? Look at his current importance for Bayern. He's totally important again, and I'm very happy for him."

 

Flick also insists there are no guarantees that Manuel Neuer will remain his first-choice goalkeeper upon his return from injury, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen or Kevin Trapp likely to be handed opportunities in the friendlies.

The Bayern captain, and Germany's most-capped goalkeeper with 117 appearances, is out for the season having broken his leg during a skiing trip shortly after the World Cup.

"The performance concept is in the foreground," Flick added. "There's nothing set in stone — Manu knows that.

"I am convinced that he will reach his performance limit when he becomes 100 per cent fit again."

Julian Nagelsmann is backing Manuel Neuer to get back to his "outstanding" best as the Bayern Munich coach looks to move on from the recent controversy surrounding the goalkeeper.

Neuer attracted criticism from the club's hierarchy following an interview with The Athletic, in which he said the dismissal of close friend and goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic was "a blow – when I was already down on the ground".

Bayern captain Neuer is out for the season after breaking his leg during a skiing trip shortly after the World Cup, and his comments led to speculation regarding his future. 

Germany great Lothar Matthaus called for Neuer to be stripped of the captaincy, while some have suggested January arrival Yann Sommer may replace him as Bayern's first-choice goalkeeper.

Nagelsmann, however, considers the matter closed and is focused on helping Neuer in his recovery.

"Everything I discuss with players stays internal. Manu's job is to get fit again. My job is to support him," he said at a press conference to preview Saturday's meeting with Bochum.

"I ask you to let it rest. It's important that the topic is buried soon. Everyone knows that healing the body is also closely related to the thoughts in your head. 

"Manu is currently the captain of this team, you will see everything else. I am certain that Manu will be an outstanding goalkeeper again."

Bayern are looking to extend a 12-game unbeaten run in the Bundesliga when they face Bochum, having inflicted two 7-0 routs on the strugglers in the teams' last three meetings.  

The German champions then take on Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday, but Nagelsmann is taking things one game at a time. 

"We have to get the game against Paris out of our heads because we have to keep our rhythm," he said. 

"We haven't had that much flow in the last few weeks. Everything we do on Saturday can also have an impact on Tuesday's game."

PSG have claimed Kylian Mbappe is likely to miss the teams' first meeting after suffering a hamstring injury, while fellow attacking star Lionel Messi will sit out their Ligue 1 trip to Monaco on Saturday with a similar problem.  

Nagelsmann accused PSG of "playing poker" regarding Mbappe's availability last week, and the Bayern boss defended those comments on Friday. 

"Paris are better with those two [Mbappe and Messi] than without. It's the same with us when two top players are out," he said.

"I've read a lot about my attack, which wasn't one. If a player is 'out' and then he plays, everyone says: 'What kind of idiot is Nagelsmann? He let himself be blinded'.

"My answer was just that I prepare like Mbappe is going to play, the same goes for Messi, I prepare the team as if they will both play, because they have other good players who can fill that position."

Bayern Munich have appointed Michael Rechner as their new goalkeeping coach following the controversial dismissal of Toni Tapalovic.

The Bundesliga champions sacked Tapalovic, who was said to have endured a difficult relationship with head coach Julian Nagelsmann.

But Tapalovic was close to club captain Manuel Neuer, with whom he had worked for more than a decade.

Neuer, who is out injured for the rest of the season, was angered by his departure and expressed that frustration in an interview with The Athletic, which prompted criticism from several senior officials at Bayern.

The club have now identified Rechner as the man who will come in to work initially with Yann Sommer, who was signed following Neuer's injury.

Rechner had been Hoffenheim's first-team goalkeeping coach since 2015, working with Oliver Baumann.

Bayern Munich president Herbert Hainer feels it is "incomprehensible" that Manuel Neuer went public with his criticism of the Bundesliga champions for sacking Toni Tapalovic.

Neuer described the Bundesliga champions' decision to relieve goalkeeping coach Tapalovic of his duties as "the most brutal thing I've experienced in my career".

The Bayern captain added that the departure of his mentor while he is recovering from the broken leg he sustained during a ski trip in December was "a blow – when I was already down on the ground".

Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic have made it clear they were not impressed with the Germany international's comments.

Hainer also criticised the long-serving Neuer on Monday.

"It is incomprehensible and disappointing for us that Manuel did not seek the way to us, but went directly to the public," he said.

"I'm even more disappointed than angry, because I would have thought that Manuel – who has been with us for so long – has so much trust and comes to us first to discuss it. 

"I support one hundred per cent what Oliver Kahn and Hasan Salihamidzic said."

Hainer ruled out terminating Neuer's contract, but there are doubts over whether he will retain the captaincy.

"We will now sit down with him and work through everything calmly and professionally," Hainer said.

"The most important thing now is that Manuel gets well again and can play. And then we'll see."

Julian Nagelsmann insisted it is not time to decide whether Manuel Neuer will continue as Bayern Munich captain.

Neuer is out of action for the remainder of the season after breaking his leg in a freak skiing accident, though has not managed to steer clear of controversy.

The Germany international criticised the club's decision to fire goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic in an interview with The Athletic, saying he felt like his heart was "ripped out" and described it as the "most brutal thing" in his career.

Those comments have attracted vast criticism, including from Nagelsmann, Bayern director Hasan Salihamidzic and Lothar Matthaus, the latter believing Neuer should be stripped of the captaincy.

However, Nagelsmann believes now is not the time for such discussions.

"I know that this is a very burning question that is being asked because the interview came out. But it's not a question I want to answer now," he told Bild.

"I now have to answer the question of who will be captain on the field for the next five months – whether it's Thomas [Muller], Joshua [Kimmich] or another player.

"Manuel's task is to get fit and healthy, that's what we're waiting for. And then we'll see. In general, I have the task of finding the right first eleven – and accordingly the captain of the next few weeks."

A 4-2 victory at Wolfsburg's Volkswagen Arena on Sunday brought an end to a three-game winless streak for defending champions Bayern.

It was not plain sailing for Bayern, who lost Kimmich to a red card in the second half, but Nagelsmann lauded a valuable result after their first league victory of 2023.

"The win was very important. We scored three goals from the first three chances, which made it easier for us," he added.

"We were too relaxed after the 3-0 and allowed Wolfsburg back into the game. Jamal's [Musiala] goal was crucial. We take the three points and move forward."

Manuel Neuer can no longer be Bayern Munich captain amid the ongoing saga surrounding the goalkeeper's criticism of the club, says Germany great Lothar Matthaus.

Germany veteran Neuer is out for the rest of the season after a freak skiing injury sustained during a post-World Cup holiday, with Yann Sommer signed from Borussia Monchengladbach as a replacement.

The arrival of Switzerland international Sommer coincided with the dismissal of long-term Bayern goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic, a move Neuer criticised in an interview with The Athletic.

His comments have sparked widespread backlash, including from coach Julian Nagelsmann, and Germany's most-capped player Matthaus has added his own voice to the chorus of disapproval.

"Manuel Neuer is no longer acceptable as Bayern captain," he wrote in his Sky Sport Germany column. "He skied negligently and now vehemently attacks the club. Didn't he say a few weeks ago no one was above the club?

"He is an icon of world football, one of the greatest to ever play for Bayern and Germany. I was the biggest fan you can imagine of him, but it is his own fault, the skiing accident and this interview.

"He did his club such a disservice, they have to do without his irreplaceable class for months, maybe even forever, and continue to pay his lavish salary.

"Bayern were more loyal to Neuer than to any other player. Serge Gnabry was publicly thrown at hell and Manuel didn't say a bad word to the outside world.

"Bayern had to sign Yann Sommer for a lot of money and now [they] have to read that they ripped out [Neuer's] heart."

In Neuer's absence, Bayern defeated Wolfsburg on Sunday in a 4-2 victory as Nagelsmann's side leapfrogged unlikely title challengers Union Berlin at the Bundesliga summit.

Julian Nagelsmann expressed disappointment at Manuel Neuer's interview criticising Bayern Munich's decision to fire goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic.

Tapalovic had worked with Neuer and the Bundesliga giants for the past decade but left the club last month amid media claims of a difficult relationship with Nagelsmann.

In an interview with The Athletic this week, Neuer said he felt like his heart was "ripped out" and described it as "the most brutal thing" in his career.

The Bayern captain is out injured for the rest of the season following a skiing accident after the World Cup that prompted the club to sign Yann Sommer.

Ahead of Sunday's clash against Wolfsburg, where Bayern brought an end to a three-match winless streak in the Bundesliga, Nagelsmann explained Neuer's interview did not help the club's situation.

"I wouldn't have given the interview. We have important weeks ahead. It doesn't help calm things down. It keeps the newspapers busy," he told DAZN.

"Oliver Kahn made a very, very good statement. Some time ago I had a good conversation with Manuel in private, where we discussed many things.

"I told him the reasons why the separation happened, I didn't want to make it public, which was the right decision in my opinion.

"My doors are always open, even though I would have chosen a different path [than the interview].

"He's the best goalkeeper in the world, as I emphasised so often, and I hope he comes back healthy."

Bayern's win against Wolfsburg saw the defending champions return to the top of the table, leapfrogging Union Berlin.

Hasan Salihamidzic has accused Manuel Neuer of putting his own interests above those of Bayern Munich amid a row over the sacking of goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic.

Neuer, who is sidelined for the rest of the season after breaking his leg during a skiing trip in December, criticised the club's decision to part ways with Tapalovic in an interview with The Athletic.

The Germany international said his long-term mentor's exit came as a "blow", adding: "It really knocked me down". 

Neuer's comments have attracted criticism from Bayern's hierarchy, with chief executive Oliver Kahn saying they "do not do justice to him as captain or to the values of FC Bayern".

Sporting director Salihamidzic echoed those thoughts in an interview with BILD, saying he expected more from the Bayern skipper and declaring Tapalovic's exit was not the goalkeeper's concern. 

"I understand that Manuel is personally affected. But I would have expected a different behaviour from him, especially as a captain," Salihamidzic said.

"The Tapalovic decision, which was also difficult for us personally, had nothing to do with Manuel in this matter, and we explained that to him."

Asked if any punishment would be handed out to Neuer, Salihamidzic said: "If there are any consequences, we will first talk to Manuel about it himself. 

"The disappointment that he describes about Tapa's release also prevails with us because Manuel has put his personal interests above the interests of the club here.

"We will do it internally, and discuss it reasonably with him. Oliver classified the parts of the interview that are relevant for Bayern correctly. We have to clarify a very important topic with Manuel."

Manuel Neuer may end up leaving Bayern Munich at the end of the season after his scathing criticism of the move to dismiss the club's goalkeeping coach, claims Stefan Effenberg.

Bayern captain Neuer said the sacking of Toni Tapalovic was "the most brutal thing I've experienced in my career", and those comments drew a sharp rebuke from club CEO Oliver Kahn.

Kahn, himself a former Bayern goalkeeper, said Neuer's remarks were not befitting of his role as captain and promised the club would directly confront the 36-year-old about the comments.

Tapalovic made his Bayern exit soon after Neuer suffered a broken leg while on a skiing trip in December, after the World Cup.

In an interview with The Athletic, published this week, Neuer said news of his mentor's departure was "a blow – when I was already down on the ground".

Reports claimed Tapalovic and head coach Julian Nagelsmann had become incompatible, with sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic saying in a January 23 announcement: "Differences, particularly over the way we worked together, have now led to us going our separate ways."

Former Germany midfielder Effenberg, who was a key figure at Bayern in two separate playing spells, believes Neuer may have written himself out of Bayern's future with the tone of his remarks.

Effenberg described it as "an interview that will probably go down in football history", saying Neuer should appreciate coaching changes only ever happen for a reason.

"This is the way it is in life and in football," Effenberg wrote in his t-online column. "Sometimes paths separate when certain things have happened.

"Those responsible certainly had their reasons for making a change – and they did. With this, FC Bayern makes decisions for the future of the club.

"A player simply has to accept that, even if he's the captain. Because nothing and nobody is above the club. No player, no coach is bigger than Bayern Munich."

Neuer has 18 months left on his Bayern deal, and he may struggle to displace Yann Sommer, who has been brought in from Borussia Monchengladbach to cover for his absence.

For many years, Neuer was widely regarded as the world's best goalkeeper, but he is in the autumn of his career now.

Effenberg wrote: "He should think about whether it makes any sense for him to still fulfil his contract with FC Bayern, which is valid until 2024, after these allegations, or whether it might be better to leave the club. From the feeling it could well be that it will even come down to that. I wouldn't be surprised if they split up this summer."

A Champions League winner in 2001 with Bayern, Effenberg said the emotional nature of Neuer's comments "are no longer good prerequisites for further good and harmonious cooperation".

"Both sides now have a few months to think about how things should continue beyond the summer – or not," Effenberg added. "With this interview, Neuer certainly made life very difficult, if not impossible, for Bayern for the future."

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