Manuel Neuer was in the limelight once again for Germany’s second training camp friendly: The World Cup winner and DFB captain played in net for the Germany U20s, up against the first team and was only beaten by Thomas Müller from the spot and Julian Draxler. Assistant coach Thomas Schneider and U20s coach Frank Kramer spoke to DFB.de about the goalkeeper and the meaning of this game.
... Manuel Neuer: Manu played 70 minutes in goal for the U20s today and made some very good saves. The idea was to expose him to a situation where he would need to keep his concentration for longer. I can’t say whether he’ll be on the plane to Russia, but it was definitely a step, and if everything continues to run smoothly he should be playing against Austria on Saturday. Then we’ll see from there.
... Marc-André ter Stegen: The coaches have spoken to Marc – he’s had a very, very good season, but Manu is a complete goalkeeper in every aspect – he’s not been named best in the world several times for nothing. It’s not an easy situation for Marc, but when you’ve got a goalkeeper who’s so unbelievably gut, you want to keep the door open for him as long as possible.
... Jerome Boateng’s situation: We’re very, very confident he’ll be with us at the World Cup: He’s completed two sessions with the ball and gone into a few sprints as well. I would say he’s back to 80 percent of his maximum speed, and if everything goes to plan he will be back to full team training next week and might even play the final friendly against Saudi Arabia (8th July).
... Mesut Özil’s situation: He’s always receiving treatment, but is completely resilient. We expect him to push himself in the coming days and weeks leading up to the start of the tournament, and we’re confident he will manage.
... the friendly against Austria: We’ll approach the game with a certain degree of overload. The team will not be 100 percent fresh, so we’d like to use as many players as possible. Jerome Boateng will not be with us, Toni Kroos isn’t joining us at the training camp until Saturday, Mario Gomez is experiencing some minor muscle problems, so we’ll have to see how he is over the next couple of days. The game is important for those players who’ve had a longer break and need match practice to find their rhythm.
... the two friendlies against the U20s: We played in a few different formations. The lads present us with tasks that we expect to face at the tournament, we draw conclusions from these and work on the relevant aspects in training, in order to be prepared for the tournament. The U20s have some great footballers, who want to show their quality, but the results are of secondary importance, since the U20s are not playing against us how they normally would.
... the possible introduction of headsets at the World Cup: We’ll have to wait and test it out. Marcus Sorg will be in the stands against Austria, speaking to me on the bench via a headset. He’ll have a very good perspective from up there, which will allow us to make tactical decisions quicker. From up there, you might be able to spot a pattern that can be fixed from the bench.
... the opportunity to put the first team to the test: Normally, after a long season, the players would be on holiday right now, but everyone is keen to experience this – it wasn’t hard to get the lads together. This kind of childish excitement is exactly what we want: they look up to the first team with respect and the lads are learning an awful lot here, they are comparing themselves to the very best in the world.
... working together with the first team: Our cooperation has been world class – as managers of the U20s we’ve been able to learn a lot as well. It’s been a wonderful time together and we’re crossing our fingers for them to get the job done in Russia.