Maccabi Tel Aviv’s goalkeeper Daniel Peretz, 23, will sign a long-term contract at Bayern Munich this week. A hero of the 2023 U21 Euros, where he helped Israel progress to the semi-finals, Peretz will become the first Israeli player in Bundesliga history to represent FC Bayern, Germany’s record champions.
Peretz’s transfer from the Israeli Premier League team to the Bundesliga giants is now imminent. As Italian transfer expert Fabrizio Romano confirmed early Wednesday morning, the 23-year-old will travel to Munich for his medical exam on the weekend.
He will play one more match for Maccabi Tel Aviv on Thursday, when the Israelis face Slovenian side NK Celje in a Europa Conference League playoff game. According to ONE
Daniel Peretz Signs For Bayern: Heir Apparent Of Manuel Neuer?
At Bayern Munich, Peretz will join a goalkeeping team that includes Manuel Neuer, the five-time FIFA goalkeeper of the year. Neuer, 37, has missed 27 club games since December 2022, when he sustained a fracture of the lower leg during a skiing injury in his winter break. The Germany captain is expected to return in the coming weeks or months.
In the meantime, Sven Ulreich, 35, will guard the Bayern goal. The German goaltender has been a reliable back-up keeper for Bayern since his 2015 move to Munich. He kept a clean sheet on Friday during Bayern’s 4-0 victory against Werder Bremen on the opening matchday of the 2023/24 Bundesliga season.
Peretz, who only turned 23 in July but has 70 Israeli Premier League games’ worth of experience, is expected to challenge Ulreich for the no. 2 spot behind Neuer.
When I Lothar Matthaus about the impending transfer at a press conference on Monday, the 1990 World Cup winner and former Bayern Munich midfielder criticized the deal.
“Apparently they’ve now found a 23-year-old in Israel [Daniel Peretz]. He costs a few million euros. I just wonder why Bayern didn’t bring up a young goalkeeper themselves from their own youth. They had many talented goalkeepers in their academy,” Matthaes said.
“A Great Sign:” Lothar Matthaus Praises Israeli Soccer
Indeed, recent Bayern Campus graduates like Ron-Thorben Hoffmann, 24, or Christian Fruechtl, 23, made the jump from Munich to no. 1 goalkeeper elsewhere. Hoffmann plays for Eintracht Braunschweig in Bundesliga 2, Germany’s second division. Fruechtl stands between the posts for Austria Wien in the Austrian Bundesliga.
Matthaeus, who won the 1991 Ballon d’Or award for the world’s best soccer player, has personal experience in Israeli soccer. In the 2008-2009 season, he was head coach at Maccabi Netanya, a first-division team. “Israelis are very passionate about soccer. I experienced that – and that is still the case today,” Matthaeus told me.
“Obviously, it’s nice when a small country like Israel plays such a successful youth European Championship, goes very far, draws attention to itself. It’s a great sign,” Matthaus explained when I asked him about his opinion on the standard of Israeli soccer today.
The former Bayern player drew a comparison between Israeli and Georgian soccer. Both countries have a small population but are currently excelling at the youth national team level. “It’s very nice that countries like Georgia, who hosted the U21 European Championship and played well, and Israel, who got very far, now receive more attention because of their performances. Of course, that also trickles down to the individual players,” said Matthaus.
Maccabi Tel Aviv Goalkeeper Loves Saving Penalties
One of those individual players who used the limelight of the U21 Euros 2023 to showcase his abilities is Tel Aviv native Peretz, who turned 23 in July, after the tournament ended.
Standing at 6’2” (1.90m), Peretz makes for an imposing figure between the goalposts. He is feared for his penalty-kick saving skills.
At the U21 Euros this summer, he denied Germany’s Youssoufa Moukoko and Jessic Ngankam from the spot, clinching a surprise 1-1 result that helped Israel progress to the semi-finals of the tournament, while title holders Germany were eliminated in the group stages. Later, Peretz shared his personal game prep notes, in which he wrote down opponent players’ set-piece preferences, on Twitter.
The 23-year-old joined Maccabi Tel Aviv’s academy as a child. Leaving his hometown club on the Mediterranean sea for Bayern Munich, known as “FC Hollywood” in Germany, will be a huge jump for Peretz, on a personal and a sporting level.
“Peretz Is A Work In Progress,” Says UEFA Scout Reed
“Peretz is a work in progress. He needs to play at a higher level to improve,” Leslie Reed, chief of scouting education at UEFA
Speaking on Peretz’ strengths, Reed praised the young Israeli keeper’s distribution techniques. “He is a modern keeper in possession which would suit Bayern,” said Reed. However, the long-time coach and scout, who is also an advisor at Ryan Reynolds owned Wrexham, also said: “Peretz will need to improve his decision-making and develop a better tactical understanding.”
If Peretz impresses in Bayern Munich’s training and wrestles the Neuer back-up duties away from Ulreich, the Israel international could make his Bayern debut in the coming weeks.
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