Bayern dominate Neuer and Muller in fitness race ahead of World Cup in Germany

Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller – stalwarts of the Germany national team over the past decade – are battling to prove their fitness with just three weeks until the start of the World Cup.

Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann confirmed in a press conference on Friday that neither player will be fit enough to take part in Saturday’s Bundesliga game against Mainz.

Goalkeeper Neuer remains troubled with a shoulder problem, while attacking midfielder Muller has a hip problem, and Nagelsmann could not say with any certainty when the two will be back at the club.

The news will inevitably be a concern for Germany boss Hansi Flick, as the former Bayern head coach finalizes his plans for the Qatar 2022 final.

Muller played for half an hour as a substitute in Bayern’s 3-0 win at Barcelona on Wednesday, but the 33-year-old won’t be at risk at all against Mainz, and will almost certainly be out of the squad as well. Champions League meeting with Inter. Tuesday.

“He has hip irritation again, in the pelvic area,” Nagelsmann said. “He won’t be able to play, probably not even on Tuesday. We’ll probably have to take him out for a week to give him a break.

“Thomas is in good spirits. We spoke to a few medical professionals yesterday and tried to get a better picture of everything, but the picture hasn’t really changed.

“It’s also not something that goes away with painkillers. He feels blocked and it’s hard to define how the pain manifests. I’ve decided it’s best to put him out of action for now.

“[Saturday] it’s the kind of game where even for 10 or 15 minutes you absolutely have to give it your all, so if we give him those 10 or 15 minutes, he’s eventually going to have to potentially give up for the next game. You have to see how it evolves and how it reacts.

“The key right now is instead of blindly testing him all the time, giving him a little calm and seeing how he reacts to that, and then seeing how his recovery goes.”

Neuer, the 36-year-old captain of Bayern and Germany, has not played an active role since Bayern’s 2-2 draw at Borussia Dortmund on October 8.

It’s obvious to Nagelsmann that getting Neuer fit is not just a priority for Bayern but a matter of national interest.

There are no promises at the moment, but Nagelsmann hopes Neuer can return to Hertha Berlin next weekend.

“I’m not a mystic who can see into the future,” Nagelsmann said. “We put him in the game against Dortmund and maybe it was a game too early, and now he’s missed a few games.

“It’s very difficult for me to know how the pain will be managed. It’s a structural area of ​​the body that needs time to heal and a joint that also needs a bit of calm, so if you test it constantly and put on a burden, it can be difficult.

“I predict he will be ready for the World Cup, but I am not a psychic. We will do everything we can to help him be there for the World Cup.”

Bayern host Saturday against a Mainz side that led at the Allianz Arena last season before slipping to a 2-1 loss.

However, Mainz have beaten Bayern twice in the past two seasons, both times with home advantage.

Of the teams currently in the top flight, only Augsburg have also taken six points from their last three games against Bayern – no team has managed more.

Heading into that encounter, Bayern and Mainz have both won their last two games, each scoring seven goals and conceding none – a league high over this period.

Mainz also top the away table this season with 12 points from six away games, making them a threat.

Bayern nevertheless enter the weekend program just one point behind leaders Union Berlin, who must wait until Sunday before facing Borussia Mönchengladbach.

“We’re on a good pace right now,” Nagelsmann said. “Against Barcelona, ​​we looked like a solid team who all had the same goal in mind. The team has a great connection with each other.”

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