Manuel Neuer has been unfortunately sidelined with a metatarsal injury for the majority of the past five months for both Bayern Munich and Die Mannschaft; the same type of injury that cut his 2016-2017 season short. After experiencing setbacks in the the recovery process, Neuer is starting to make decent progress and is confident that he’ll return to action before the end of the season for Bayern; just in time for this summer’s World Cup.
Neuer’s number two with Germany, Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen, admits that he feels his compatriot will slot right back in to Die Mannschaft’s number one spot at keeper for the World Cup, even though ter Stegen has been in fantastic from while Neuer’s been sidelined (via ESPN):
When he comes back, he is the No. 1, he deserves a lot of respect and I think all of us are trying to help him to be at his best because in the end it is a team situation, we want to be successful as Germany, so we always try to push our team members
Jupp Heynckes is equally as confident that Neuer will make a complete recovery on time to be fully fit and firing for this summer’s tournament in Russia. Fortunately for Heynckes and Bayern, the stand-in Sven Ulreich has improved significantly since stepping in as the club’s number 1 keeper back in September.
Ulreich’s drastic upswing, Heynckes admits, gives Bayern the luxury of not having to rush Neuer back prematurely (via Bundesliga.com):
I’m utterly convinced that he’ll play for us and then go to the World Cup. The doctors will decide ... I’m not putting him under pressure and so we’re not placing a timeframe on it. Manuel’s in a good place mentally, though. He’s making really good progress and is working well on his fitness. I suggested that he get a change of scenery, just to get away from Säbener Straße [Bayern’s training base] for a bit. He can’t take any risks and he won’t.
Neuer took Heynckes’s advice and has been in Thailand to continue his recovery and rehabilitative training for the past week.