MUNICH – Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes is confident that German captain Manuel Neuer will return in time to play in the World Cup for Germany.
Neuer hasn’t played since September with a hairline fracture in his left foot after being injured in training and the 32-year-old is running out of time to prove his fitness for this summer’s tournament in Russia.
Heynckes said the goalkeeper “completed 70 to 80 percent” of the team’s training session.
“It is looking very good with Manuel. It was very positive to see his development in training today. It’s unbelievable the shots he was saving,” the outgoing coach said. “I’m very optimistic that Manuel will make Germany’s training camp.”
Bayern are seeking their 12th domestic double in the DFB Pokal final in Berlin next Saturday, and Heynckes hasn’t ruled out Neuer making the squad.
“We’ll know next week whether or not he will be in the squad for Berlin. But, from what I’ve seen today in training, if he keeps on making progress, I’m confident he will be an option.”
“He can do everything that a modern goalkeeper has to be able to do. But next week we will know more. Today he completed 70-80 percent of team training. He has endured such bad luck and always fought back so resolutely.”
Germany coach Joachim Low is due to name his preliminary World Cup squad on May 15.
Meanwhile, German broadcasting network ARD on Friday said a journalist who made a documentary about extensive doping in Russian athletics has been denied entry to Russia to report on the World Cup.
ARD says in a statement a visa that one of its regional broadcasters sought for Hajo Seppelt was declared invalid on the grounds that he is on a list of people who are “persona non grata” in Russia. No further details were given.
Seppelt and ARD have consistently revealed and reported on doping scandals, including working with whistleblowers to expose systematic cheating in Russian track and field.
ARD called the decision unprecedented, saying free access for media representatives is the norm at major events such as the World Cup and the Olympics.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.