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Joachim Low Hints Manuel Neuer Will Remain Germany No. 1 Ahead of Euro 2020

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 21, 2019

SOCHI, RUSSIA - JUNE 21:  Manuel Neuer of Germany speaks with manager Joachim Low during the Germany Training session at Park Arena training ground on June 21, 2018 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Joachim Low has hinted Manuel Neuer will remain Germany's first-choice goalkeeper but reiterated deputy Marc-Andre ter Stegen will get chances after coming on during Wednesday's 1-1 friendly draw against Serbia. 

The Germany manager was asked by reporters if Neuer's start against Serbia suggested the Bayern Munich man will keep his place for Sunday's UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier against the Netherlands, to which he replied:

"You can assume that. At the end of last week or in the past, I've already said that Marc-Andre will definitely have some chances. That's my plan.

"Now we have just made one game, in this one he has played a half. That was our decision, that Manuel plays as captain in the first half.

"In the second half then Marc-Andre played, but we still have some games during the year, and he will certainly get his opportunity."

Barcelona star Ter Stegen has his supporters as the heir to Neuer's throne, a position Bayern's No. 1 has governed almost without challenge for nearly a decade. He's earned 85 caps since making his debut in 2009 when he was at Schalke. 

Low indicated prior to the midweek friendly that Ter Stegen would continue to get chances in the national team, and DW Sports contrasted this season's statistics for the goalkeeping duo:

DW Sports @dw_sports

Manuel Neuer 👕 34 games ⚽️ 32 goals conceded 🔒 14 clean sheets Marc-André ter Stegen 👕 37 games ⚽️ 33 goals conceded 🔒 15 clean sheets A close decision...? https://t.co/Kl9YnUuu1X

Neuer—who turns 33 on March 27—has kept two clean sheets in his last 12 international outings; Eintracht Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic headed in at the Volkswagen Arena after only 12 minutes on Wednesday.

The Bayern veteran has earned major plaudits during his career for popularising the sweeper 'keeper role, but questions have been raised over his effectiveness this season and whether he's past his best.

Journalist Manuel Veth took his injury absence last season into account when judging Neuer's 2018-19 campaign, though an increase in mistakes committed can't be ignored:

Manuel Veth @ManuelVeth

3. Manuel Neuer Finally the captain of #DieMannschaft. Nine clean sheets and still an outstanding passing statistics but also plenty of mistakes this season. I think a grace period given his lengthy injury has to be granted but it will be on for him next season. https://t.co/LjjgNNHYQy

Ter Stegen, meanwhile, has kept up consistent form between the sticks for Barcelona and has earned calls to take the No. 1 jersey, having excelled since joining from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2014.

Liverpool's Sadio Mane scored the Reds' first in their 3-1 win at the Allianz Arena in the UEFA Champions League when he capitalised on Neuer's inexplicable run out from goal to score in an open net (U.S. only):

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Sadio Mane made Neuer look silly 😳 (via @brfootball) https://t.co/Utc4fLc6Pd

Though Mane's turn and finish deserved huge credit, the goal exploited a noticeable lack of agility and reaction time from Neuer, who might have been expected to make the save in years gone by, via BT Sport (UK only):

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

Sadio Mané sending Manuel Neuer for a 🌭 The full #NoFilterUCL episode from Bayern 1-3 Liverpool is dropping soon 🙏 https://t.co/iHzly383vs

It's likely Euro 2020 could be Neuer's last chance to feature at a major international tournament for Germany. The Bayern stopper will be 34 at next summer's tournament and 36 by the time the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Qatar (November 2022).

Low recently wielded his axe and cut the Bayern trio of Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng from the national team, though Neuer was among the club's more experienced stars to keep his place.

That move signalled no player is untouchable within Low's camp, but Neuer has stood tall and will continue to fight for his place as Germany's No. 1 heading into next year's European Championship.  

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