12 Oct It’s all about the team for us – Neuer plays down Germany goalkeeping dispute
Manuel Neuer has attempted to draw a line under the recent dispute over Germany’s goalkeeping selection ahead of Sunday’s clash with Estonia.
Neuer’s recall for the Euro 2020 qualifier in Tallinn has been the subject of controversy, with Marc-Andre Ter Stegen insistent he should be starting in competitive games as he did in Wednesday’s 2-2 friendly draw with Argentina.
Neuer’s Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness had previously threatened to withdraw his players from international duty if Neuer was dropped, though the club later backtracked on those comments.
Asked about Ter Stegen’s frustration during a pre-match press conference, Neuer said: “That’s a normal statement, everyone who’s in the game wants to play. I do not know any player who likes to sit on the bench.
“It’s not the first time he’s said something like this. He’s a really good goalie who always wants to play, and that’s clear to me, too, and he showed a good performance.
“We have a great relationship like always. We are talking normally. Marc did well against Argentina. It’s all about the team for us.
“I would have preferred to play both games, clearly. But tomorrow is a competitive game, it’s about points. I’m ready.”
There have been suggestions, most recently from former Germany keeper Rene Adler to Sport1 on Saturday, that 33-year-old Neuer will remain as first choice until after next summer’s tournament before handing over to Ter Stegen, 27.
Neuer appeared to dismiss that idea by noting that Schalke youngster Alexander Nubel, who has been praised by national team goalkeeping coach Andreas Kopke, “may be” his eventual successor in the national team.
And he added: “Currently there’s nothing to announce.
“I’m fit and performing well, so there’s no reason to think about ending my career.”
Both Ilkay Gundogan and Timo Werner are in contention to join Neuer in Sunday’s line-up after training with no ill effects as manager Joachim Low revealed the squad’s injury situation had “calmed down a bit”.
Serge Gnabry is certain to start after following up his four goals in Bayern’s 7-2 Champions League win over Tottenham with the opener against Argentina.
Low said: “He has the qualities to play at the highest of levels. As he’s shown over the past year, if he’s fit then he simply has to play.”
Holland’s win over Northern Ireland left those two teams level on points with Germany at the top of qualifying group C and Low admits his side, without a play-off safety net after their Nations League failure, must win on Sunday.
“It’s a no-brainer,” he said in comments reported on the national team’s Twitter account.
“We can’t afford to drop any more points in our group so I’m expecting a professional performance.”
Opposite number Karel Voolaid admits Estonia will have to work hard defensively to improve on June’s 8-0 loss in Mainz.
“We need to get more done in defence, particularly with our position – it is important to limit the opposition’s chances,” he told Estonian newspaper Postimees.
“This is an extremely big game but I hope there are more of them to come. Maybe we can give the home crowd a gift and surprise Germany.”