Bayern Munich keeper Manuel Neuer has claimed he would relish the chance to meet his old club Schalke in the Champions League quarter-finals.
The Bundesliga leaders are in a commanding position going into the second leg of their last 16 tie with Arsenal, taking a 3-1 advantage back to the Allianz Arena for the fixture next week.
And Neuer, who reached the semi-final stage with Schalke back in 2011, admits he would be delighted to see his former employers overcome Galatasaray to make it to the latter stages once more.
“First we have to finish the job on Wednesday at home to Arsenal. After the 3-1 in the away leg we’re in a really good position. A quarter-final against either Dortmund or Schalke would be a really cool match for me. Today I’d choose Schalke as opponents, because that would mean they’d reached the next round,” he told Bild.
Bayern remain on course for a monumental treble this season, having reached the semi-finals of the DFB-Pokal as well as amassing a 17-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga, and Neuer has stressed his main objective is to secure the league title in his maiden season in Bavaria.
“I really wanted this title in my first season in Munich. Now it can happen," he continued. "It would be the recognition of being part of the best football team in Germany. I want to celebrate with the team, and be on the balcony of the town hall, enjoying the fans cheering.
“I’ve already stolen a glance at it [the trophy] in our museum. The only ones I’ve got my hands on so far are fans’ cardboard trophies they want me to sign!"
Neuer has formed part of a formidable Bayern back line this season, with Jupp Heynckes' side having only conceded eight goals in their entire league campaign to date, and the 26-year-old admits it is a very different experience to his time in the Schalke side.
“I don’t find it boring," he said of playing in goal for Bayern. "At Schalke the demands were much more bodily, physical. At Bayern it’s more psychological, mental demands.
“There are games in which there really isn’t anything happening at the back. In that situation you can take a breath and steady yourself a bit - but at the same time you’re saving the energy for what might be a deciding moment in the match."
Neuer went on to state that he was frustrated not to start for Germany against France, in a match where he would likely have been called into action more frequently.
When asked if he was disappointed to be replaced by Rene Adler for the game, he said: “Only because that was a really prestigious match. France are a top team. In a tournament, that could theoretically be a semi-final.
"You just want to play in those games. Especially as you don’t always have that much to do for Bayern. And with the France match it was a certainty before kick-off that there would be several instances requiring the goalkeeper. They would have been special moments for me. But I took the decision sportingly.”