Lukas Raeder noisily geed up and encouraged his team-mates in a Bayern reserve game on Friday – and yet just three weeks ago, he was wearing a Schalke shirt. The Royal Blues’ U–19 juniors defeated their Bayern counterparts 2–1 to win the German championship for their age group, but with a medal in his pocket, the 18-year-old has now upped sticks and joined Munich.
As of last Tuesday, the 1.94 m (6 ft 4 in) Raeder, already christened ‘Neuer minor’ by the Munich media, reported for duty at the Säbener Strasse. The talented youngster spoke to fcbayern.de about opting to join Munich, and his opportunity in the transition phase between junior and senior football.
Interview: Lukas Raeder
Lukas, you're working out with players you beat a couple of weeks ago in the U–19 final. Does it weigh on your conscience?
Lukas Rader: No, it's not crossed my mind at all. Obviously, we've talked about the match, but it was all very relaxed. All that mattered was to win the championship, regardless of the opposition.
How do you now feel about pulling on Bayern colours?
Very good. It was a bit special when Bayern called. I decided relatively quickly to come to Munich. Schalke is obviously a very big club, but Bayern is something else again.
What were your main reasons for moving?
Bayern made it clear I’d train with the first-team and gain match practice with the reserves. At the time, when Bayern asked the question, my situation at Schalke wasn't as clear.
What are your targets at Bayern?
The first priority is to develop as a player. I want to continue improving in training, and I'll gain match practice with the reserves, which is where I want to settle in.
What are the differences now compared to youth team training?
It's very different. In the youth section, one goalkeeping coach was responsible for a number of youth keepers. Now I have a coach who I only share with two or three others, and that’s a big difference. And everything in the professional game is much quicker, every training exercise is planned down to the very last detail. The standards here are the highest of all.
The papers are calling you Neuer minor: you’re just as tall as Manuel, and you were both at Schalke, but are there any other similarities?
Manuel is obviously a role model because of his modern interpretation of the goalkeeping role. We saw it at Euro 2012. There is no other keeper close to Manuel when it comes to playing like an outfield player.
Did you know him at all at Schalke?
We trained together three or four times, but I was normally only called up to train with the first team when he was taking a break.
What do you think of goalkeeping coach Tony Tapalovic?
Actually, I did get to know Tone at Schalke. He coached me a couple of times, and I spoke to him before deciding to join Munich.
And what about Tom Starke?
Tom and I are living in the same hotel, and he gave me a lift to training on the first couple of days, because I didn't have a car. We get on well.
When can you move out of the hotel?
The first apartment I can call my own will be ready on 1 August. Before now, I've only lived at home with my parents. All I need now is furniture.
You made your debut for Bayern on Friday in a match between FC Bayern II and Austrian club WSG Wattens. What was it like?
I played the full 90 minutes and I think it went well. I didn't know many names or faces, but I was given a really good reception. I enjoyed it.