Leroy Sané Confident for European Championship Return

Leroy Sané Confident for European Championship Return

Sané optimistic before return

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Manuel Neuer’s right arm shot up in protest. He looked anxiously towards the sideline. Not far from the halfway line, Julian Nagelsmann’s European Championship goalkeeper had to clear a pass from defender Robin Koch (27) that was far too short. But Neuer, who had been so attentive at first, did so unnecessarily and carelessly with a chip ball that landed with the opponent. And he promptly stormed towards the empty German goal.

Luckily for Neuer, the linesman also raised his flag and indicated an offside position after Andriy Yarmolenko’s (34) header to the sprinting Artem Dovbyk (26). “I didn’t even see Yarmolenko on the left side,” Neuer later said of his faux pas in the 88th minute, which had no consequences in this European Championship trial run.

If Ukraine had scored a late winning goal, Neuer – and Nagelsmann too – would have had to answer completely different questions in the Max-Morlock Stadium than after the 0-0 draw. It would have been the hot topic after the penultimate test before the home tournament. But the question of what is wrong with Neuer is still on the table just before the real game against Scotland. For 87 minutes, Neuer’s comeback in the DFB goal after 18 months “felt really good”. The 2014 World Champion made several saves, as is expected of a number one at the tournament. But the final impression of the game remains.

It happened to be the 88th minute again, as it was recently in Bayern’s bitter Champions League exit against Real Madrid. After several world-class saves, Neuer made a fatal mistake with a saveable shot. Neuer, who often played like an alien in the past, seems to have become more fallible and more normal at the age of 38. He remains a number one under observation.

Nagelsmann’s acquittal for Neuer – understanding for ter Stegen’s frustration

Nagelsmann, of course, acquitted Neuer. “If he doesn’t get him, if he stands deeper and doesn’t play, then it’s a much bigger mistake with more serious consequences,” said the national coach. “It wasn’t a big shock, because it was clear in a millisecond that the player was offside.” Nagelsmann has no doubts about Neuer. “He will play a very good European Championship, I’m sure of that,” he said before the game.

And Neuer was able to assess his 118th international match – especially without conceding a goal – as a positive all round result. He certainly seemed proud and satisfied on Monday evening. The return to the DFB goal, the home European Championship, the eighth tournament as number one – these goals seemed unattainable for him after the serious leg fracture following the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. “It was a long road, a rocky road and a lot of hard work. If I hadn’t stuck with it, I wouldn’t have made it,” he said proudly in the catacombs of the stadium.

Nagelsmann had named Neuer as the European Championship goalkeeper early on – and not Marc-André ter Stegen. Neuer is the winner again, but he can understand the loser’s frustration. “That is a well-known problem in the goalkeeper position. There has never been a coach who has let two goalkeepers play. The decision is always a difficult one. Marc knows the situation. You have to say, it is unfortunately like that, because he really is a world-class goalkeeper who has shown good performances,” said Neuer. “But that is also part of the business.”

DFB substitute ter Stegen deeply disappointed: No thoughts of resignation

Ter Stegen was hit hard by the renewed demotion to number two. “It’s not a pleasant situation. But the coach made the decision and I accept it, even if I don’t agree with it,” said the FC Barcelona goalkeeper on Tuesday in the national team’s headquarters. But he never considered resigning from the DFB team, even after Nagelsmann’s decision to appoint Neuer as the first-choice goalkeeper.

“I told the national coach that one is the sporting aspect, the other is the human aspect. I want everyone to be able to rely on me,” assured the 32-year-old. “It’s disappointing for me personally, very disappointing. But at the end of the day you have a responsibility to the group. I will help wherever I can.” Ter Stegen had held the role of number one in the DFB jersey during the long injury break after Neuer broke his leg. As was the case before the 2018 World Cup, however, he was demoted to substitute shortly before the tournament. Ter Stegen was only number one at a tournament when the team won the 2017 Confederations Cup, when the then national coach Joachim Löw did without many of his regular players, including Neuer. He has made 40 international appearances so far.

The relationship between the goalkeepers is good, ter Stegen emphasised. “It has nothing to do with Manu, we have the same position. But it has nothing to do with him on a personal level. We have a good relationship. Even if we are fighting for the same goal, it doesn’t mean that I don’t like him,” he said. He would not speculate on Neuer being absent again. “I never wish anything to happen to him or for him to make a mistake. That’s not me. That’s not my style. It’s not easy being number two, but I will do what I can.” In addition to Neuer and ter Stegen, Nagelsmann’s European Championship squad also includes Oliver Baumann (34) from TSG Hoffenheim and Alexander Nübel (27) from VfB Stuttgart, making it the first time that there will be four goalkeepers at a major tournament.

Sané has no doubts about playing for DFB team at the European Championships: “Better little by little”

Meanwhile, Leroy Sané feels ready to play in the national team’s dress rehearsal for the home European Championship after his long-term injury problems. “It’s looking very good for me. As of now, I’m playing on Friday,” said the FC Bayern attacker. Germany will play against Greece in Mönchengladbach this Friday before facing Scotland in the opening match of the European Championship in Munich a week later.

Sané has been suffering from a pubic bone injury for weeks, which has only allowed him to train in moderation recently. “I’m doing quite well so far. I’m following a plan to get better bit by bit. Overall, things are looking very, very good,” said the 28-year-old. Sané also had to serve a three-game suspension from November in the national team and therefore missed the match against Ukraine.

Nagelsmann had nevertheless nominated Sané in his provisional European Championship squad, but has now called for an improvement towards the tournament. “He has to train this week. And he also has to play against the Greeks. He has been suspended for three games now, he has no rhythm at national team level,” said the national coach. Sané does not expect to be dropped from the squad at short notice because of the problems. “I mean, that can always happen, even if you are not injured,” he said, recalling his surprising omission from the 2018 World Cup squad. However, this is not a scenario for health reasons. Nagelsmann has yet to remove one player from his provisional squad, but has repeatedly stressed that Sané could be a player for the special moments at the European Championship, even if he cannot play all of the 90-minute games.

2024-06-05 01:33:00
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