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Manuel Neuer to start against Austria on Saturday; Alaba doubtful

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The German national team’s upcoming friendlies against Austria and Saudi Arabia will give Neuer the game time he needs to ensure he plays at the World Cup. David Alaba may not be fit in time.

EPPAN, ITALY - MAY 29: Manuel Neuer looks on during a training session of the German national team at Sportanlage Rungg on day seven of the Southern Tyrol Training Camp on May 29, 2018 in Eppan, Italy.
EPPAN, ITALY - MAY 29: Manuel Neuer looks on during a training session of the German national team at Sportanlage Rungg on day seven of the Southern Tyrol Training Camp on May 29, 2018 in Eppan, Italy.
Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images

After a dreadful few months of rehabilitation, Manuel Neuer is expected to make his official return on Saturday when Die Mannschaft entertain Austria at the Wörthersee Stadion, as part of the pre-World Cup friendlies.

Neuer, who has been out of the Bayern Munich squad for over eight months, played his test match against the German U20 on Monday by coming in for Marc-André Ter Stegen after the first half hour.

According to the national team’s goalkeeper coach Andreas Köpke, we’ll most certainly be seeing Neuer between the sticks in Russia. He said that Germany’s forthcoming friendlies against Austria and Saudi Arabia are the decisive factors of Neuer’s World Cup appearance. Those games would help him get completely fit and would help a great deal to increase his confidence:

As of right now, Manuel will play; nothing stands in the way. These are the games that he needs. It’s a real test. Afterwards, we have to decide if it’ll work. Manuel needs these games to get 100% fit again. They help him regain his confidence.

According to Köpke, recent training sessions and the test match have proven that Neuer’s recovery is complete and can most certainly bring back his 2014 self.

In training, no one can see any difference anymore. It was as if he had never been away. I’ve no concerns. I have a very good feeling.

Since Neuer’s return would make Ter Stegen a backup goalie, Joachim Löw and Köpke spoke with the Barcelona star and made sure that he understands the situation:

He knows the special situation. Manu is our captain and a world champion. We’re doing everything to make it work. Of course Marc-André would like to play. But he can live with it.

Alaba uncertain to play on Saturday:

Alaba is doubtful to appear for the Austrian national team on Saturday when they face off the reigning champions in Klagenfurt. The 25-year-old is said to be suffering from back problems and is possible to be ruled out of the squad, writes Abendzeitung.