Neuer: It's boring to keep goal for Munich
BLACKBURN Rovers was one thing but Bayern Munich will be quite another.
The Bundesliga leaders go to Arsenal tonight for the Champions League last 16 first leg tie with a strong claim to be Europe's second best side. They bring with them quality, experience and motivation of two lost Champions League finals in three years.
Bayern are well set to take the Bundesliga title back from Borussia Dortmund this year, 15 points clear of the second-placed champions with just 12 games left. Only Barcelona average more points per league game than them in the elite leagues. And it is easy to see why. Behind all their pace, creativity and attacking fire-power, they have the best defence in the game.
Bayern have conceded seven league goals all season. That is less than half than the tightest teams from Europe's other leading leagues. Juventus have let in 17, Malaga 21 and Manchester City 24.
They are so good at the back that Manuel Neuer, their brilliant goalkeeper, admitted it can be dull playing in goal for Bayern.
"After some games this season I haven't needed to have a shower," Neuer (pictured) joked.
"Yes I guess sometimes it is boring being in goal.
"But it is actually important to keep talking and have communication with my defence.
"The key for Bayern Munich is that the whole team defends and we cover the spaces well.
"We immediately go to win the ball back. You can see that in the fact we have only conceded seven goals (in the Bundesliga) so far."
That improvement is part of coach Jupp Heynckes' reaction to the frustrations of last year, when Bayern finished second in the Bundesliga, lost the German Cup final to Dortmund and were beaten by Chelsea on penalties in the Champions League final.
"Last season we had a good season but if you do not win a title it is still not enough," recognised Heynckes, who will be replaced by Pep Guardiola in the summer.
"We have improved this season, we are better defensively and at switching play. The thing that pleases me is that every player has to realise that they have to defend and attack."