Season over at Bayern for Neuer, doubts over World Cup
Manuel Neuer has poured serious doubt on his World Cup chances while his Bayern Munich coach on Wednesday says Germany’s goalkeeper will not play again for the club this season.
“I do not think it’s imaginable that I go into such a tournament without match practice,” Neuer said at an event on Tuesday night on his Russia 2018 chances.
Neuer, 32, has been sidelined by a fractured foot since September and is running out of time to be fit for Germany’s opening World Cup match against Mexico in Moscow on June 17.
Heynckes said there was no chance Neuer would play in Bayern’s last two games this season — the final Bundesliga game at home to Stuttgart on Saturday and the German Cup final on May 19 against Eintracht Frankfurt in Berlin.
“Manuel won’t play against Stuttgart — and also not in the German Cup final,” Heynckes told Kicker magazine.
That means Neuer can only get the necessary match practice in two games before the World Cup — Germany’s friendlies away to Austria in Klagenfurt on June 2 and at home against Saudi Arabia in Leverkusen on June 8.
“There are still a few games,” Neuer said, but added that he cannot give a date for his return.
“There is no prognosis, I have to make the right decision for me, the team and Germany.
“It does not help to get distracted.”
Coach Joachim Loew is still expected to include Neuer in his provisional World Cup squad, which will be named next Tuesday and then trimmed down for the final 23-man list.
The goalkeeper will have to work on his fitness at Germany’s two-week training camp in northern Italy from May 23 to June 8 if he is to have any chance of playing at Russia 2018.
Neuer only recently returned to Bayern training.
“I want to improve daily and try to get fit as quickly as possible, so far the steps have been very good and positive,” he said,
“I’m trying to continue and then we’ll see if it’s enough.”
Neuer is the main concern for Loew, who is also waiting on the fitness of Germany centre-back Jerome Boateng, who has a groin injury, and attacking midfielder Mesut Ozil, who is sidelined by a back complaint.
Boateng said he is on course to be fit for the World Cup finals after being injured in Bayern’s Champions League semi-final, first-leg, defeat against Real Madrid.
“The national coach knows that my goal of travelling with the team (to Russia) is absolutely realistic,” said Boateng.