Bayern loan: Monaco keeper Nübel: "I'm where I wanted to be now"

Because a possible early return to FC Bayern was discussed for weeks in winter, Alexander Nübel was recently a sought-after man.

Bayern loan: Monaco keeper Nübel: "I'm where I wanted to be now"

Because a possible early return to FC Bayern was discussed for weeks in winter, Alexander Nübel was recently a sought-after man.

In an interview with the German Press Agency, the goalkeeper on loan from Munich before the play-off second leg in the Europa League against Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen comments on the current state of affairs.

Question: Mr. Nübel, you regularly meet with Nico Hülkenberg and Alex Zverev, among others, at the German regulars’ table in Monaco. Can you put yourself in the other person's situation or is it difficult because the two do individual sports? Or are you as a goalkeeper something of an individual athlete?

Alexander Nübel: We had a lot of English weeks after the World Cup, so there was hardly any time to meet up privately. Basically, it is always interesting and helpful to engage with other competitive athletes. You leave your own bubble. We goalkeepers are a kind of hybrid creatures. We are individual and team athletes at the same time. So there are a lot of similarities. A keyword would be, for example, the topic of focus. Of course, we're not just talking about sports. There is a lot of laughter and there is actually a feeling of home.

For a few weeks there was discussion about your early return to Bayern. In the end, who made the decision to let you stay in Monaco? FC Bayern? She? Or would you be in Munich now if Monaco hadn't vetoed it?

Nübel: Monaco made it clear to me early on that they would not let me go under any circumstances. Which is also an enormous appreciation. That's why the topic of change didn't really arise for me. And that's how my statements from that time are to be classified.

"Every goalkeeper needs trust"

When you were in the "Aktuelle Sportstudio" recently, you criticized the fact that Bayern goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic had not contacted you in Monaco. Were you surprised when he had to leave shortly after?

Nübel: Since I don't have any background and I don't like it for myself when outsiders judge me, I would like to give a general answer: The relationship between goalkeeper and goalkeeping coach is usually much closer than between field player and coach. We often train in a small group away from the rest. We have a special position for this. Every mistake we make usually has consequences for the team. We discuss our psychological stress, our processes, these topics with the goalkeeping coach. Every goalkeeper needs trust. That alone shows how special this relationship is.

So you can understand Manuel Neuer's reaction, who vented his frustration in an interview.

Nübel: As I said: I don't want to judge that.

Has this personality increased the likelihood of a fundamental return to Munich because Tapalovic was a close confidant of Manuel Neuer?

Nübel: In the end, it's not the goalkeeper coach who decides about me and my future, but my performance.

Assuming you don't return to Munich in the summer, would you like to stay in Monaco or experience something different again? Or back to Germany?

Nübel: As I said: In the end, my performance decides where my path leads. But I stay focused on the here and now. Everything else just distracts. Our job is hard enough anyway.

A bit heretical: Wouldn't you rather play in front of spectators at home? An average of 7,500 spectators come to Monaco, the lowest in France. And that's around 2,000 fewer than in Heidenheim.

Nübel: Of course I prefer to play in full stadiums, that's clear. Around 8000 Monegasques live here. This makes it difficult to fill the stadium. You have to mentally prepare for that.

"I offer my services"

You have always emphasized that the next step is to get more match practice. Besides FC Bayern, do you also have the national team in mind in the medium term? Everyone who is currently being appointed there is significantly older than you.

Nübel: I don't think about it. As far as I know, nobody has ever talked to the national team. I offer my service. Everyone can see and rate them.

Many supposed experts decided immediately after the change that it was a bad decision to switch to Bayern and see themselves confirmed. In retrospect, do you see it critically or are you still completely different? And how do you refute these critics?

Nübel: I chose this step because I wanted to know how far I could get. I currently have a contract with Bayern Munich until 2025 and play as a regular goalkeeper at AS Monaco, one of the most interesting teams in Europe. To be honest, I'm very happy with it so far. With all due respect, most critics are completely irrelevant to me. They don't know me personally, nor can they assess my performance in a well-founded manner. Only a few people know the background to the change. So I'm relaxed. I am now where I wanted to be.

At Schalke you went from captain and crowd favorite to substitute and bogeyman in a very short space of time. Does that still concern you today or was it a valuable experience in hindsight that allowed you to grow?

Nübel: Of course, the force of the criticism hit me hard. You could see that in my performance back then. But I've reflected on that now.

With Monaco they play in the play-off second leg of the Europa League on Thursday against Bayer Leverkusen. How do you see the chances of progressing against Leverkusen after the 3-2 win in the first leg?

Nübel: One half is played. We may be ahead, but what counts is the end result. Leverkusen have so many great players that nothing is decided. If we push ourselves to the limit, have a bit of luck and believe in ourselves, then we'll progress.

ALEXANDER NÜBEL (26) was born in Paderborn. He switched to SC Paderborn at the age of eight, went through all the youth teams and made it into the professional squad at the age of 18. He moved to FC Schalke 04 without playing in 2015, became a regular in winter 2018 and captain in summer 2019. After his free transfer to FC Bayern Munich became known in the summer, he lost his tie and regular place. In Munich he only made four competitive appearances in his first year and was loaned out to AS Monaco. He is now the regular keeper there. His contract in Munich runs until 2025.

Nübel on the Monaco club website