BERLIN, Germany, Jun 4 – Germany have included 2014 World Cup-winning captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in their final squad for the 2018 tournament, even though he has only just returned from a long-term absence through injury.
But in a surprise omission, coach Joachim Loew left Manchester City striker Leroy Sane out of his 23-player list despite a strong season with the Premier League champions.
“Leroy has a huge amount of talent and he will be back in again because from September we will re-double our work with him,” Loew said. “But in his games with the national team he hasn’t quite done the business.”
Bayern Munich goalkeeper Neuer made his first appearance since September in the 2-1 defeat by Austria in a rain-delayed friendly on Saturday and showed no ill-effects.
The 32-year-old who is considered key to Germany’s hopes of retaining the title had been sidelined for eight months after fracturing a metatarsal in his left foot last September in a recurrence of the same injury he suffered earlier in 2017.
Sane was cut from the squad with Timo Werner and the veteran Mario Gomez included as just two out-and-out strikers.
Neuer denied his inclusion was a risk, despite his lack of match practice.
“I’m not worried. I am no more a risk than any other player,” Neuer said.
The ‘keeper said his careful reintroduction had been a deliberate ploy — he didn’t play a single match for Bayern before joining up with the national squad.
Apart from an appearance in a specially-arranged match against Germany’s Under-20 team last week, the match in Klagenfurt in Austria was his first full appearance since September.
“I always thought I would be going to the World Cup and I didn’t want to take any risk,” Neuer said.
“Every training session is a test for me. If I don’t feel good I tell the coach because the success of the team is the absolute priority.”
Germany 23-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (Barcelona/ESP), Kevin Trapp (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA)
Defenders: Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha Berlin), Jonas Hector (Cologne), Matthias Ginter (Moenchengladbach), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Niklas Suele (Bayern Munich), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea/ENG), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
Midfielders: Sami Khedira (Juventus/ITA), Julian Draxler (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid/ESP), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal/ENG), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Sebastian Rudy (Bayern Munich), Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City/ENG), Leon Goretzka (Schalke 04), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund)
Forwards: Timo Werner (RB Leipzig), Mario Gomez (VfB Stuttgart)