Bayern Munich star Manuel Neuer has won almost everything that he possibly could for both club and country.
Through all of the experience he has gained, Neuer knows that the first game of a major tournament can be tricky.
“We have to be careful. For me personally, the first game in a tournament is always the most important. Japan are an uncomfortable team that plays in a very disciplined way,” Neuer told Tz’s Mano Bonke and Philip Kessler (as captured by @iMiaSanMia). “At the same time, they’re unpredictable due to the qualities of their individual players. We have a few Japanese players in the Bundesliga. I find it difficult to play against such teams. I prefer playing against teams like Spain – because you know them. Then you know who is facing you. You can better prepare yourself for such opponents. Therefore it will be a difficult task for us. But after that we’ll know where we stand.”
Neuer will be a key figure in helping ensure that Germany does get caught looking past a strong Japanese side. Between Neuer, the other 2014 World Cup veterans on the squad, and Hansi Flick, Germany should have the necessary foundation in place to avoid any unnecessary distractions or losses of focus ahead of its opening match.