Before Lyon – Monaco: Alexander Nübel, the « new Neuer » whistled and in the middle of a nightmare

The problem with flattering comparisons is that they often end up being dangerous. Revealed to Schalke three years ago, Alexander Nübel was to be the new Manuel Neuer. Because his course resembles like two drops of water that of the legendary porter of the Mannschaft, also because he shares other physical similarities, such as his height (1.93m) or his wingspan. But the resemblance ends there and on the ground, the label is more difficult to bear. Loaned for two seasons at AS Monaco, the Paderborn giant had a particularly delicate first part of the season.

In two months, the German goalkeeper has not convinced the Monegasque supporters who, obviously, do not intend to give him more time to prove himself. Considering his status, the wait was great. Disappointment, just as much. On September 22, against Saint-Étienne, the ASM goalkeeper was whistled by part of his audience. « I don’t understand some supportersNiko Kovac reacted at a press conference after the match won by his team (3-1). On the goal of Bouanga, Caio [Henrique, le latéral monégasque, NDLR] The mask. It’s a sharp one and when you can’t see the strike go it’s hard to make a stop. « 

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In reality, the public who had taken a grudge against him reproached him much less for this inconsequential pawn than for other services. In particular that of August 25, on the lawn of Shakhtar, where the former Schalke player was lobbed by an unfortunate deviation from Ruben Aguilar, at the very end of the match, sealing the elimination of ASM on the road to the Champions League … before conceding a copy and paste, four days later in Troyes. « I consider he was unlucky on the goals we conceded, assured his trainer before the international break. I do not remember that he made a mistake that led to a goal in Ligue 1. « 

Nübel did not actually commit any hand errors that had major consequences. On the other hand, he has already paid, on several occasions, for placement problems: too far from his line against Shakhtar and Troyes, he was also caught in closed angles against Lens and then Nice. « So far, he hasn’t had a lot of opportunities to show his qualities because we haven’t conceded a lot of chances.« , tried to moderate Kovac last month. The Paderborn giant has indeed not been abandoned by his defense, since he conceded only one shot more than Keylor Navas, and one less than Walter Benitez, two last strongholds of the championship teams.

56.5% stops

But he has only achieved 14 saves (and 11 goals conceded) since the start of the season in Ligue 1, 19th worst total among the 25 goalkeepers who have played at least two matches since the start of the year. Not sufficiently decisive, he is ahead, with 56.5% of saves, than Alexandre Oukidja (Metz) and Arthur Desmas (Clermont) among the titular goalkeepers. Worse, Neuer’s old liner isn’t much more comfortable with his feet. Against Sparta Prague and RC Lens, his poor raises cost two goals. And on the lawn of Real Sociedad, it is also one of his failed passes that resulted in a corner allowing the Basque club to equalize.

Alexander Nübel during the match between Real Sociedad and AS Monaco on September 30, 2021 in the Europa League

Credit: Getty Images

In short, difficult to find the Monegasque doorman a way out of the vicious circle in which he has been stuck for several weeks. « He needs clean sheets« , noted Kovac. Nübel only obtained one in L1, against Bordeaux, just before the break. »He also needs a little more support, although I can assure you that he has that of all his teammates and staff., assured the Croatian technician. He’s a smart guy, I’m sure he will prove his worth in the next few weeks. « Because Kovac does not intend to give back its starting status. And it does not matter if the label of the » new Neuer « has taken off somewhat.

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