In the latest Germany news, Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes has confirmed Manuel Neuer will be fit for the World Cup.
The goalkeeper has been plagued by a foot injury that has kept him sidelined for both club and country since September, suffering a string of setbacks throughout his recovery.
Neuer recently returned to training and could feature in Saturday’s DFB-Pokal final against Eintracht Frankfurt.
The 32-year-old was named in Germany’s provisional squad for the 2018 World Cup and, as captain, he looks set to travel to Russia regardless of his fitness.
Joachim Low’s men won the trophy in Brazil four years ago and despite losing key players such as Philipp Lahm, Miroslav Klose and Bastian Schweinsteiger in the last few years, they are again expected to do well.
Die Mannschaft are 9/2 to win the tournament with William Hill and Neuer’s experience could be crucial.
After months of waiting for good news, his country breathed a large sigh of relief on Friday when Heynckes confirmed the goalkeeper was back fit and in contention to play for Bayern on Saturday evening.
The veteran coach, who will step down after the clash at Berlin’s Olympiastadion, says he has been encouraged by the former Schalke man’s form in training and has backed him to have an immediate impact.
“The nation can relax,” Heynckes said at his pre-match press conference. “I don’t just think Manu will be fit for the World Cup, he’ll be a big player for the team.
“He’s not in any pain and is in fantastic condition because of all the exemplary work he has put in the gym these past months.
“He has a presence in goal, an authority that has scarcely been seen before. I don’t think he’ll have much trouble getting into competition mode.”