Neuer-illogical

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Last week, when Germany faced Ukraine, we examined the country’s current home kit and the increasing use of white change shorts.

That match saw Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer wear the new first-choice goalkeeper strip for the first time. While individual GK designs for teams are almost a thing of the past, what adidas tend to do now is that there are five or six options available but their big contracts will have one kit in a colour-scheme that nobody else has.

For instance, Arsenal’s is black and white, Manchester United’s is charcoal and orange and Germany’s is red and black.

For Bayern Munich, Neuer’s primary kit is a bluey-green shade and you’d think the idea of wearing red for his club was an impossibility, given that pressure from the fans has led Bayern to agree that any new home kits will only have red and white on them.

However, it’s not unknown for such a thing to happen. Back in 1991-92, reserve goalkeeper Gerald Hillringhaus wore a red version of the new adidas template. While this never appeared in a game, later in that decade – when the home shirt was navy – Oliver Kahn had a red option.

While Bayern were back in red by the time Neuer arrived, he has appeared in at least five different goalkeeper kits in variations of the hue. The use of third kits as first-choice options in the Champions League group stages was partly a factor in this phenomenon but there were also more than a few domestic examples.

The first of these was in 2012-13, wearing a shirt that would have been perfect as a retro-inspired home jersey. Bearing a similarity with the shirt worn as Bayern won the Champions League in 2000-01, Neuer’s top – never sold as a replica, as far as we’re aware – was trimmed in gold, allowing it to be used with the home shorts and socks of the time.

One of the outing was away to Borussia Mönchengladbach, who wore all-white with Bayern in their all-black third/European shirt.

The following season, 2013-14, there was another red shirt, again in the same design as the first-choice goalkeeper shirt, and this was marketed to fans. Once more, it tied in with the outfield home shorts and socks.

When Bayern hosted Manchester City in the Champions League group stages, there were in their three-tone blue third strip, forcing City to play in white and allowing Neuer to appear in red.

The 2014-15 one was a very interesting example, as it followed an outfield design rather than that of a conventional goalkeeper shirt template. In this campaign, Bayern had a beautiful all-black third strip with a red stripe down the left side of the shirt, shorts and socks, and Neuer’s kit was a reversal of this.

While it also appeared in games where Bayern wore their white away, the black and red kits were paired together in the Champions League knockout game away to Porto.

In contrast to that, the red goalkeeper kit from 2015-16 seems like a let-down, given that it was the basic adidas template, but in and of itself it was not unattractive. By this stage, Bayern had reverted to red for the Champions League group games but Neuer still wore this away to green-clad Wolfsburg in February 2016, when the team played in the navy third strip.

The most recent occurrence we know of came in the 2018-19 season, when Neuer wore five different kits.

Again an adidas template, it was used by him when Bayern wore their mint-green change kit away to the blue and white stripes of Hertha Berlin.

Neuer has already worn four different versions of the new adidas goalkeeper template for Bayern since football resumed in early summer but, as yet, he has only worn red for Germany. There’s still time, though.

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