With Manuel Neuer as the undisputed number one, it is only bizarre to have three potential starting goalkeepers at FC Bayern München. A brief look at a ridiculous situation.
When the Reds signed Pepe Reina last summer, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said the following. “Pep [Guardiola] wanted a goalkeeper who can play to a similar standard as Manuel Neuer. It’s of course not straightforward to find a player with that kind of quality and experience, who is willing to accept not being first-choice.”
Reina is a former Napoli and Liverpool starter. He can be trusted.
However, Bayern already had a backup. Tom Starke is a former Hoffenheim starter.
Both Reina and Starke are experienced and respected. Aye to that, but the insurance policy sounds ridiculous today.
|Goalkeeper||Minutes played (2013-14)|
|Goalkeeper||Minutes played (2014-15)|
The above tables raise two questions.
Do we need three?
Having so much depth at goalkeeper definitely is nice, but we are not using it. All we are doing is padding the squad just in case disaster strikes, with two injuries at goalkeeper.
In real terms, Bayern had to deal with this before, as Neuer and Starke were hurt for a brief spell in 2013-14, FCB handled it handsomely by bringing up Lukas Raeder from Bayern II (Amateure/Junior side). He was no Neuer, but he performed well. He even provided an assist on a Mario Mandzukic goal in April.
This term, backups have picked up more injuries than Neuer, not playing a single minute of competitive first team football.
What if Neuer gets injured?
A bigger question is what happens if Neuer gets injured. Whereas Raeder stepped on the pitch as an active Amateure player, Reina or Starke would have to fill in without any match practice under their belt.
It is reasonable to assume that they have enough experience to deal with it. However, there always is a risk associated with taking over a starter’s position in the thick of the action. Especially as a keeper, whose reflexes and positioning can decide a game on a single play.
There is an easy solution to this. Rest Neuer against Braunschweig on Wednesday’s Pokal game, giving precious minutes to Reina or Starke. Give the other guy the second half of a game if Bayern has a healthy lead.
Risks can be managed. Squad rotation could be more fruitful than squad padding in that regard.