European Championship: Germany’s preparations dealt blow with Manuel Neuer’s thigh injury

National team, before the international match against France, training, DFB Campus. National goalkeepers Marc-André ter Stegen (l) and Manuel Neuer take part in training. 

Germany’s preparations for the European Championship were dealt a blow with Manuel Neuer’s thigh injury ahead of the goalkeeper’s planned comeback.

Germany’s World Cup captain had been due to return to the national team after breaking his leg in a skiing accident, but he sustained a muscle fiber tear in his left adductor during training Wednesday morning, the German football federation said.

It said the 37-year-old Neuer will miss Germany’s upcoming friendlies against France and the Netherlands but didn’t give any further indication of how long he will miss. Neuer had already left the squad. Germany play France in Lyon on Saturday, then the Netherlands in Frankfurt on Tuesday.

Neuer broke his leg while skiing shortly after returning from the 2022 World Cup and hasn’t played for Germany since. He spent more than 10 months out of the game before reestablishing himself as Bayern Munich’s No. 1.

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann is almost certain to make Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen his No. 1 in Neuer’s absence. It had been reported that Nagelsmann was favouring Neuer between the posts for Euro 2024, which Germany is hosting.

If Neuer is to regain his place from his rival, his first opportunity to play for Germany will be in the friendly against Ukraine in Nuremberg on June 3 — just 11 days before the opening game of Euro 2024 against Scotland in Munich.

Germany also have a final tournament warmup game against Greece lined up. After playing Scotland on June 14, Germany play Hungary in Stuttgart on June 19 and Switzerland in Frankfurt on June 23. Neuer’s injury is a blow, too, for Bayern, who play Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on March 30, and face Arsenal in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal on April 9.

Neuer has made 117 appearances for Germany. He helped win the World Cup in 2014, but he only played at the World Cup in 2010 because Rene Adler, who was Germany’s No. 1 at the time, suffered a rib injury before the tournament.

Midfielder Jan-Niklas Beste will also miss the friendly internationals after picking up an injury in training. “Jan-Niklas Beste sustained an adductor muscle injury in training in Frankfurt on Wednesday and has left the team,” the national squad said in a statement.

The Heidenheim midfielder, a former Germany youth international, has played an outstanding season in the Bundesliga and was one of six newcomers called up for the two matches. Germany coach Nagelsmann had praised Beste’s versatility on Tuesday. “He can play an offensive role but also at the back and can play left-back without any problems”, Nageslmann had said.

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