ST MARTIN Italy (Reuters) - Germany captain Philipp Lahm and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will not be included in the squad to face Cameroon in their penultimate warm-up game ahead of next month’s World Cup, giving the two players more time to fully recover from injuries.
Germany coach Joachim Loew said on Friday the pair would be fully fit for their final warm-up game against Armenia next week before the squad leaves for Brazil.
Loew, speaking at the end of a 10-day training camp in the Italian Alps, said Borussia Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller would start against Cameroon.
“Lahm will not play (on Sunday) against Cameroon. We do not want to risk things. He will remain in training, and Manuel Neuer naturally won’t play either.”
Lahm and Neuer have not yet fully trained with the team, recovering from injuries picked up during the German Cup final on May 17.
“We expect Manuel to be in goal on Friday (against Armenia). We have two great goalkeepers with us (for Cameroon). Roman will start in goal on Sunday. He has left a very good impression in training,” Loew said.
“There is clear progress with those injured,” said Loew. “Bastian Schweinsteiger started training and (Sami) Khedira also trained without a problem yesterday and today.”
“Lahm trained intensively with the ball with almost no problems. We expect him to join full training soon. The same goes for Neuer. We expect that the injury is cured by next week.”
The 33-year-old Weidenfeller, long overlooked by Loew despite consecutive outstanding seasons with his club, finally earned his first cap in November last year in a 1-0 win over England at Wembley.
He could now be facing his biggest sporting challenge yet if Neuer does not recover in time for the tournament start.
“I did not know that,” Weidenfeller told reporters minutes after his coach had made the announcement he would be playing on Sunday. “For me it is a great honour and opportunity.”
“I have never experienced it and at age 33 to experience a World Cup is priceless. I hope I can experience it to the very end and maybe even hold the Cup in my hands.”
Weidenfeller, however, ruled out a potential goalkeeper rivalry within the team when Neuer returns as Germany focus on ending an 18-year title drought.
”It makes absolutely no sense if we start a goalkeeper war. I have said I will support Manuel from day one and I still do it. We all expect that he is going to be in goal on the first group match (on June 16 against Portugal).
Germany also face Ghana and the United States in World Cup Group G.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond