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Neuer to make come-back in Austria friendly

Manuel Neuer (Getty Images)

Cape Town – Germany’s captain and
goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will return to international action in
Saturday’s 2018 Soccer World Cup warm-up match against Austria after more than eight
months on the side-lines because of a fractured foot.

“Manuel will
play, there’s nothing against that,” said goalkeeping coach Andreas
Koepke from Germany’s training base in Eppan, Italy.

“These are matches he needs, it’s a real test. Afterwards, it will be up to us to decide if it’s all OK.”

Germany
coach Joachim Loew has already said that Neuer would only travel to
Russia for the June 14-July 15 World Cup as the number one goalkeeper.

Loew
has taken 27 players with him for their training camp, including four
‘keepers, with four to be cut before the list of the official 23-man
squad is delivered to FIFA on Monday.

Neuer, 32, took to the field
for the first time since his injury on Monday, playing 30 minutes in a
friendly against the German under-20 side. He was to repeat that against
the same opposition on Wednesday.

“Manuel needs these matches to once again be on 100% top form. They’ll help him to find his confidence,” said Koepke.

The assistant coach added: “In training, you can’t see any difference (with Neuer), it’s as if he’s never had a break.”

Should
Neuer come back, Barcelona ‘keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen will find
himself relegated to the bench after a year of filling in at number one.

“He knows the situation,” Koepke said of Ter Stegen, with whom he and Loew have had talks over potential selection issues.

“Manu
is our captain, a world champion. We’re trying everything so it works
out for him. Obviously Marc-Andre would love to play, but he can manage
the situation.”

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