If Manuel Neuer is forced to sit out the World Cup due to injury, Oliver Kahn is confident Marc-Andre ter Stegen is a more than capable deputy.
Bayern Munich goalkeeper Neuer has seen his game time restricted in 2017 amid a metatarsal injury and said last month he could be out of commission for “half a year”.
Such an absence would make it difficult for the 31-year-old, who was third in the 2014 Ballon d’Or voting after helping Germany to World Cup glory in Brazil, to reach peak condition for the event in Russia.
That could enable Barcelona keeper Ter Stegen to take the number one shirt and Kahn is backing him to step up if required.
“Traditionally, we have very strong goalkeepers in Germany, even with the number one being out,” Kahn told Omnisport, speaking at the Golden Foot Hublot Award in Monaco.
“In 2010, Rene Adler was supposed to be the starting goalkeeper for Germany and missed the tournament due to injury, and that’s where Manuel Neuer came in and played a sensational World Cup.
“So I would also trust Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen to be able, in case Manuel Neuer doesn’t recover on time, to play a good World Cup.
“But you have to know one thing; for me Manuel Neuer, at the moment, is the best goalkeeper in the world and who likes to renounce the best goalkeeper in the world?”
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) November 7, 2017
Kahn believes Germany’s strength in depth, as evidenced by their Confederations Cup win earlier this year, gives Joachim Low’s side a great chance of defending their world title.
“First of all, you have to see that the German national team has recently also won the Confederations Cup with many players that wouldn’t be considered starters,” he said.
“That goes to show just how strong this team is, also in the youth department, how many high-quality young players German football has right now.
“At the moment, there is a lot of competition in the national team, on all positions, but especially in midfield, [Ilkay] Gundogan being one of so many players available for those positions. Up front they have great possibilities with Timo Werner, so it’s a team that could possibly be able to defend the World Cup title.
“The Germans are a very big contender, but we know at World Cups there are other contenders like the usual suspects of Argentina, Italy, France or Brazil, depending on how they recovered from the 7-1 at the last World Cup. It’s always hard to predict.”
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