Heynckes 'optimistic' Neuer will be at World Cup

Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes said he is “optimistic” about the chances of Manuel Neuer being part of Germany’s World Cup defence despite eight months sidelined by injury.

“I am very optimistic that Manuel Neuer will go into camp with the national team,” said Heynckes on Friday.

Last September, Neuer fractured his foot for the second time in 2017 and has played only four times for the Bundesliga champions in the last 13 months.

Nevertheless, Germany coach Joachim Loew is expected to name Neuer, his first-choice goalkeeper and captain, in his provisional World Cup squad on Tuesday.

The shot-stopper will have to prove his fitness in a fortnight-long training camp in north Italy from May 23, which includes an away friendly against Austria on June 2.

Germany must submit their final 23-man World Cup squad by June 4, four days before playing their final warm-up game against Saudi Arabia in Leverkusen.

Neuer recently returned to team training with Bayern, but is still not able to take full part.

Heynckes, who turned 73 on Wednesday, has said Neuer will not play against Stuttgart in Munich on Saturday, the last home league game this season.

On Friday, Neuer took part in “70 to 80 per cent of the team training,” the Bayern boss revealed.

“He showed everything a goalkeeper needs, jumping for example.

“It is impressive the shots he is saving, that is very positive.

“We just have to wait now to see how things develop.”

Germany open the defence of their World Cup title against Mexico in Moscow on June 17, but Neuer faces a race against time to be fit.

“I don’t think it’s possible that I would participate in such a tournament without having some match practice,” said the 32-year-old.

Neuer’s last chance to play for Bayern this season will be in the German Cup final a week on May 20 (Singapore time), which Heynckes has left open. – AFP

Manuel Neuer