Bayern Munich captain Manuel Neuer heads into Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Tottenham Hotspur aiming for a display that settles the debate on if he should remain Germany’s first-choice goalkeeper ahead of Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The showdown in London will be key in deciding who will win Group B. Neuer will want to use the high-profile clash to prove his form after a shaky display on Saturday at bottom club Paderborn.
That display came on the same day Ter Stegen launched Barca to a 2-0 win at Getafe with a sensational long-range pass for Luis Suarez’s opener.
Ter Stegen had sparked a war of words between Germany’s top goalkeepers when he said it was a “tough blow” to remain on the bench.
Neuer telling the 27-year-old his comments were unhelpful to team spirit only led to a terse reply of “Manu doesn’t need to comment on my feelings”.
Madrid face Brugge
Real Madrid’s revolution was supposed to be built around their attack but resilience has been the base for the recovery ahead of their Champions League group game at home to Club Brugge on Tuesday.
At the end of last season, as Zinedine Zidane’s dreary run-in came to a close and paved the way for what many expected to be a spectacular summer, polls were published by Madrid’s newspapers asking fans which of the world’s deadliest strikers they hoped would arrive.
Harry Kane, Mohamed Salah, Sergio Aguero, Mauro Icardi and Robert Lewandowski were some of the names offered up and, in the end, Luka Jovic arrived, the Serbian who has struggled for starts and is yet to score a goal.
Eden Hazard is tasked too with helping fill the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo, even if the Belgian’s own opening in Madrid has also been underwhelming, stalled by injury and now seemingly a period of adjustment.
Yet the stalemate against Atletico Madrid was a stark indication of how Real Madrid have relied on their defence to ease the pressure on their coach.
They restart this week in the Champions League too, where PSG’s victory makes the French side favourites to go through top of Group A but a win over Brugge would at least get Madrid on the board.
In another tie, Juventus take on German side Bayer Leverkusen.
Schedule (All games start at 12:30 am, Wednesday unless mentioned): Real Madrid vs Club Brugge (10:25 pm, Tuesday); Atalanta vs Shakhtar Donetsk (10:25 pm); Galatasaray vs PSG; Tottenham vs Bayern Munich; Manchester City vs Dinamo Zagreb; Juventus vs Bayern Leverkusen; Lokomotiv Moskva vs Atletico Madrid.