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International return for Neuer in Austria friendly

Manuel Neuer hasn’t played competitively for club or country since September due to injury © AFP/File / MIGUEL MEDINA

BERLIN, Germany, May 29Germany’s captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will return to international action in Saturday’s World Cup warm-up match against Austria after more than eight months on the sidelines 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 percent top form. They’ll help him to refind 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.

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“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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