Neuer to make comeback against Darmstadt

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Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will make his long-awaited comeback from injury on Saturday in the Bundesliga match against promoted Damrstadt, coach Thomas Tuchel said, reported dpa.

"If everything goes well in training, then he will play tomorrow. He's looking forward to it and so are we. I'm certain many other people are also excited," Tuchel said in a news conference on Friday.

"His comeback is very impressive. I notice the difference in his condition. Our whole recovery and physio department and he can be proud. I'm very confident he'll quickly reach his top form," the coach added.

Neuer spent more than 10 months on the sidelines after he suffered a season-ending leg fracture during his holidays last December after the World Cup in Qatar.

He hasn't played since December 1, when Germany faced Costa Rica at the World Cup. For Bayern, his last match was against Schalke on November 12.

"It's a special situation. I can feel his excitement and his class. He's got great experience. He's enjoying things right now and he can he proud of himself. He should enjoy it, and that will make him strong," Tuchel said.

"There will be some tension. Now we hope that he can quickly find his rhythm and things are all good."

Asked if Neuer will immediately return to his old form, Tuchel said: "Nobody can predict that. I don't feel he's tensed up. I think he'll show everyone again. But there's some joy in him that he's done it. I see a whole new level in goalkeeper training. He's in his own league."

Initially, Bayern signed Yann Sommer from Bundesliga rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach as a replacement. But Sommer moved on to Inter Milan in summer as Neuer was set to return ahead of the start of the new season.

The Bayern captain, however, had to undergo surgery to remove an implant in his right fibula early in August. Since Sommer's departure, Sven Ulreich has been the starting goalkeeper.

"Sven Ulreich was always Neuer's friend, his accomplice. His performances were excellent. Ulle knows the hierarchy. Ulle will drop to the bench," Tuchel said.

The 2014 World Cup winner Neuer has been Bayern and Germany's absolute number one for more than 10 years. With the Bavarians, he won 11 Bundesliga titles and two Champions League trophies.

At the Germany national team, Neuer has been replaced by Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and it's unclear whether the Bayern man will be called up by coach Julian Nagelsmann for friendly games against Turkey and Austria in November.

Nagelsmann previously said he wants to give Neuer the necessary time to get healthy and regain 100% of his form.

Neuer's comeback could start a fierce battle for the starting position between the posts at the national team ahead of the Euro 2024 on home soil.

Ter Stegen has repeatedly said he hopes to be Germany's number one at the tournament even if Neuer is fit.

The Barcelona keeper has always been under Neuer's shadow, but was widely expected to be Germany's starter at the 2018 World Cup in Russia after Neuer spent a long time on the sidelines due to an injury.

However, then coach Joachim Löw gave the position back to Neuer upon his recovery shortly before the tournament.

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Source: www.dailyfinland.fi

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