BERLIN (Reuters) - Bayern Munich keeper Manuel Neuer has been included in their squad for the German Cup final against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday and will start on the bench, coach Jupp Heynckes said on Friday.
The 32-year-old, who was named this week in Germany’s preliminary World Cup squad, has not played a game since breaking a bone in his foot back in September, putting his chances of making next month’s tournament in Russia in serious doubt.
“He has been training well and it is great to see the condition he is in. Manuel has absolutely no problems. Physically he is fully fit,” Heynckes told reporters. “But he will not play from the start.”
Neuer, who won the World Cup in 2014 and has been Germany’s first choice keeper for eight years, has been racing to get fit and started training with the team this week.
Germany coach Joachim Loew said this week Neuer would have no chance of making the final squad for Russia next month without match practice but Heynckes sounded confident the keeper would be there.
“Manuel has a presence, an authority in goal. You cannot compare him with anyone. The nation can relax. He will be a big support at the World Cup,” Heynckes added.
Bayern are looking to cap their season with the domestic double after winning the Bundesliga for a record-extending sixth successive time and Heynckes said he had no specific plan for Neuer.
“I have a match plan. Everything else we will see how it comes,” said the 73-year-old, who will go return to retirement after coming back in October to take charge of Bayern following the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti.
He now has the chance to earn the double and beat the man who will succeed him at Bayern next season, Eintracht coach Niko Kovac.
“I ended my career back in 2013. I do not know what will happen tomorrow. But for me a German Cup final in Berlin’s Olympic stadium — the German Wembley — is a wonderful event,” he said.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Christian Radnedge