After half a year on the injury roller coaster, Manuel Neuer was expected to make his comeback either on May 12th when Bayern Munich play Vfb Stuttgart in the final match of the season or for the DFB Cup final against Eintracht Frankfurt. There remains, however, a sliver of hope that Neuer could play in the DFB Cup final.
In an initial report by Kicker, Jupp Heynckes was cited as declaring in no uncertain terms that Neuer would not play against Stuttgart or in the Pokal final. That would leave the question of whether or not Joachim Löw would make Neuer his first pick in Russia unanswered, but potentially hurt Neuer’s chances of making the cut.
Now, however, according to ESPN’s Mark Lovell, Heynckes disputes Kicker’s report, leaving the door open to a potential appearance in the DFB Pokal final:
Plot thickens. Birthday boy (73) Heynckes rubbishes kicker report that Manuel Neuer will not play again for Bayern this season.— Mark Lovell (@LovellLowdown) May 9, 2018
”I didn’t say that. Fact is that @Manuel_Neuer will not be in squad vs. Stuttgart. However, decision remains open for @DFBPokal_EN final.” https://t.co/7qdotWm9Vb
Earlier this week Neuer said that he doesn’t think he can go to the World Cup without match practices. But with his playing time in doubt, even Neuer is uncertain whether he play for Germany in the World Cup:
I cannot say at the moment whether I will make the World Cup. I don’t think it is conceivable that I can go into the World Cup without any match practice. It’s going well and I’m feeling good, but I have to make the right decision for me, the team and Germany. I want to get better each day and try to get fit as quickly as possible. We’ll see if it’s enough, but I can’t say for certain
Oliver Schmidtlein, former Bayern Munich physio, commented that resting Neuer until the knockouts in Russia is the only wise choice: (SportBild)
I think the earliest (Neuer) could be involved is the knockout stage of the World Cup. Otherwise, he would be risking his recovery.
Although things are not looking good lately, business manager of the national team Oliver Bierhoff said that he still feels positive about the condition and is convinced that Neuer will be at the world cup:
I’m still confident and convinced that Manuel will be at the World Cup. In Manuel’s case we’re taking it day by day. For him - as is the case with other injured players - it’s important that they find their rhythm and concentrate in peace so that they return to fitness. The real deadline is June 4, when we have to nominate the final 23-man squad.
As the clock ticks down, everyone will be watching whether Neuer might play in the DFB Pokal final; and if not, whether Jogi Löw will take him to Russia anyway.
In light of the contradictory media reports, Bayern Munich took the unusual step of releasing an official statement to set the record straight:
According to media reports, Jupp Jupp Heynckes allegedly stated today, Wednesday, that Manuel Neuer would not play for Bayern Munich again this season. Heynckes states: “I did not say that that way. The fact is that Manuel Neuer will not yet be in the squad on Saturday for the final home game against VfB Stuttgart. The decision for the Pokal final, however, remains open.”