Neuer: Winning a sixth title is an extra motivation

  • Bayern Munich looking to win the Club World Cup for a second time

  • Semi-final on 8 February 2021 against Al Ahly or Al Duhail SC

  • hears from the Bayern captain and Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper

Bayern Munich first won the FIFA Club World Cup™ in December 2013 as goals from Dante and Thiago, neither of whom are still at the club, gave the Reds a 2-0 win over Raja Casablanca in the final.

Now, just over seven years later, the record German champions are bidding to claim the crown once again. With The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, as well as David Alaba, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller, Bayern still have four key players in their side from that triumphant 2013 squad.

We chatted to Neuer recently about the upcoming tournament in the host country of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. Manuel Neuer, are you already looking forward to participating in the tournament in Qatar?

Manuel Neuer: I’m really looking forward to it because we got a taste for it the first time and won it. That was just before Christmas and it was a great way to end the year. Now we’ve got the chance to play two games in Qatar. We’re determined to win our sixth title.

What memories do you have of the 2013 edition?

Very positive ones, because we won. They weren’t easy games, they were relatively tight. We had to work hard to win them, especially in the final. It was a big relief afterwards. We had a lot of fun after that game.

You won the UEFA Champions League title for a second time with Bayern in 2020, following your first in 2013. Was that something special?

It was a dream. We experienced wonderful moments together as a team and as a club in Lisbon. The format was different due to the coronavirus, so it was quite special. We grew closer together as a team. It was a fantastic feeling, including for the players who were part of the side that beat Borussia Dortmund at Wembley [in 2013]. It was a dream to be able to repeat that.

That Champions League title was ‘only’ one of five Bayern won last season. And now you could pick up a historic sixth…

That’s obviously an extra motivation. We’re looking forward to the Club World Cup. We’ve got a clear objective in mind and we want to achieve it in a positive way.

In mid-December you were named The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper. What does the award mean to you?

It’s something very special for me personally, especially at my age at 34. It’s not normal. Generally speaking, as a goalkeeper you depend on your team-mates and the coaching staff so that we play well and successfully together. Therefore I’m very grateful to my team-mates that I was crowned the world’s best goalkeeper.

In the semi-finals of the Club World Cup you will play either Al Duhail (Qatar) or Al Ahly (Egypt)…

Right now we’re still focusing on the Bundesliga, but we’ll prepare ourselves for that in good time. We already know Al Ahly. They’re the African Champions League winners, so it wouldn’t be an easy game at all. The same was true in 2013. It’s not very easy to play against sides you don’t know very well.

The matches will be held in stadiums that will be used at Qatar 2022. Is there a special kind of excitement in that?

It’s definitely a first experience as far as the World Cup is concerned. We can get to know the stadiums in advance and share that knowledge with our respective national teams. I hope we’ll be able to report back positively.

What do you know about Qatar in general? Bayern have held several training camps there in the past.

The conditions and the pitches are good, and the distances are short between the hotel and the training complex. That puts the focus on football.