Germany lost to Austria, 2-1, in their FIFA World Cup warm up in Klagenfurt Saturday evening, but the bigger storyline for Die Mannschaft was that a fit Manuel Neuer left the pitch, playing all 90 minutes.
For the first time since September, Neuer played in a live football match. His broken metatarsal on his left foot caused him to originally miss 37 matches before sitting out an additional eight for FC Bayern this season after returning from the same injury that left him out of the final two months of the 2016-2017 campaign. Neuer made five saves in the loss but his solid, yet defeated, performance should not be the first thing fans talk about.
Since arriving at FC Bayern in July 2011, Manuel Neuer has established himself as arguably the best goalkeeper in the world. With Die Roten alone, Neuer has appeared in 298 matches, earning 158 clean sheets, conceding 196 goals.
With Die Mannschaft, Neuer has appeared in 75 matches, earning 28 clean sheets, conceding just 54 goals. As the World Cup approaches, it goes without saying that Neuer has been quite successful with the national team.
Since his arrival at Bayern, Manuel’s trophy case includes six Bundesliga titles, four Deutscher Pokal championships, three German Super Cups, an UEFA Super Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup. Not to mention, Neuer is a two-time German Footballer of the Year (2011, 2014).
Before the battle with his unstable left foot, the longest duration that Neuer was sidelined for was 11 days.
So is it unfair to say that Neuer is not durable? Maybe. Maybe not.
The 32-year-old standing at 6-foot-4-inches is not fragile. However, this fickle left foot of his has been giving him trouble long before his arrival at Säbener Straße. In the summer of 2008, Manuel Neuer suffered the same injury, causing him to miss the first seven matches of Schalke’s 2008-2009 campaign.
Neuer was just 22-years-old and was not in contention to start as Germany’s no. 1 goalkeeper. Although, he was one of the leaders for Germany’s Under-21 team, the senior squad starting spot was reserved for veteran Jens Lehmann.
Road to recovery
Fast forward to September when FC Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge broke the news that Neuer re-injured the broken foot. After 17 1/2 weeks for the first stint, Neuer sat out an additional 29 weeks.
There was an obvious sense of ‘here we go again’. from the Bayern faithful. But wait, who’s to say Neuer’s duration out of football is directly mirrored the injury?
Jupp Heynckes told ESPN (c/o Sports Illustrated) that Neuer’s foot was a “sensitive injury” and that he was sure that German national team manager, Joachim Löw, had made sure that the German goalkeeper would be in contention to play for Die Mannschaft in Russia.
Slowly but surely, Neuer has tested his left foot and his overall technical abilities. Aside from Neuer’s appearance against Austria, ‘The Wall’ has been causing problems for German attackers in training.
Just Manuel Neuer doing @Manuel_Neuer things. #ZSMMN #DieMannschaft pic.twitter.com/r2dZ6szYLN— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) May 30, 2018
Neuer is accompanied by Bayer Leverkusen’s Bernd Leno, Paris Saint-Germain’s Kevin Trapp plus no. 2 goalkeeper and Barcelona man, Marc-André ter Stegen. Therefore, should Manuel Neuer get the short end of the strick, the drop off in goal would be minimal.
There’s no doubt that Neuer is a key player for Deutschland, but the process of getting back to 100 percent fitness has been successful. Not to mention, Marco Reus returning to the squad. If Bayern center back, Jérôme Boateng, fully recovers, Germany would be a perfect 3-for-3 with rehabbing players back to full fitness and for the squad to be at full strength.
Silly rumors are for comedy or concern, depending on what you make of it. Bayern’s front office would find it difficult to match Neuer’s qualities. However, Sven Ulreich will not win you the Champions League. With that said, neither would— Jordan Pickford?
According to a report from The Sun in the UK, Bayern Munich will have their eyes on Everton and England international, Jordan Pickford, this summer in case of a Munich meltdown. Pickford has been said to be England manager Gareth Southgate’s preferred option in goal for the Lions.
Pickford earned 10 clean sheets in 38 appearances for the Toffees in the English Premier League last season.
What to watch for
At any rate, both goalkeepers will potentially be on display in Russia with Germany hoping to repeat as champions. Neuer’s potential first match will be against Mexico in Group F June 17 in Moscow.
Will Manuel Neuer play for Germany in the World Cup?
This poll is closed
Yes, Neuer is fit and ready.
No, I don’t think Neuer will play.