Germany’s No.1 and captain Manuel Neuer and forward Thomas Muller will miss Thursday’s World Cup qualifier against minnows Liechtenstein as they have been ruled out due to injury. Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno will play the match and replace Neuer due to an ankle knock which made him sit out of training for the whole week.
Germany’s newly appointed coach, Hansi Flick hopes that the Bayern goalkeeper will be fit will be for the match against Armenia in Stuttgart on Sunday. Flick said today that he hopes that “Manu” (Neuer’s nickname) will be fit by Sunday.
Neuer’s Bayern Munich teammate Thomas Muller suffered an adductor injury and misses all Group J matches against Liechtenstein, Armenia and Iceland next week on Wednesday. Flick said that Mueller had gone home to rest and the injury did not make it possible for him to play these qualifier matches. He added that the risk was too great and hence the decision to send him back and that they have enough players to replace him. His replacement in these matches could be either captain of Borussia Dortmund Marco Reus or it could be young Chelsea forward Kai Havertz. Muller and captain Neuer were the most experienced members of the squad with both of them playing in more than 200 international matches combined.
Germany is behind in the group as they are third and two points behind leaders Armenia. Only the top team of any group in the UEFA World Cup qualifying games gets to go directly to the finals. The runners up usually end up in the playoffs. As Neuer is absent, Flick still has to decide who will be his captain in all the matches against Liechtenstein. Flick said that he asks himself who will be the captain and there are a few options and will clarify it internally.
Hansi Flick replaced Joachim Loew who coached the German National Team for 15 years and won the World Cup 2014 with the team. Flick was his assistant that year. Loew left after disappointing performances in the 2018 World Cup and the 2020 Euros where they lost to England 2-0 in the Round of 16. Meanwhile, Flick won the treble with Bayern Munich in 2020 and won a double with the club in 2021.
Flick said that he is looking forward to his first international game and wants the same “intensity” from his team as he had seen in training.