Germany’s Neuer and Reus to miss Armenia’s qualifier.
BERLIN: German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and midfielder Marco Reus will not be part of the squad facing Armenia on Sunday in a World Cup qualifier, and coach Hansi Flick will rest them due to a busy match schedule.
Flick no longer features Leon Goretzka, who was kicked in the face in Germany’s 9-0 win over Liechtenstein on Thursday, as well as sanctioned defender Antonio Ruediger.
The Germans already qualified are also missing five players due to quarantine rules after defender Niklas Suele tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week.
“Manuel and Marco have played a lot of games so far,” Flick told a virtual press conference on Saturday. “We did it to control their load and to give them a break before the next games they have to play.”
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“This is the right way. They still have a lot of games to play, especially those who also play in international (club) competitions.”
Flick said Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen would start in goal with attacking midfielder Kai Havertz also in the lineup.
“The team that is here has our absolute confidence,” he said. “It can also happen in a tournament that someone is injured or suspended. That is why the alternatives are important.”
The Germans have already secured first place in Group J and are at 24 points, with North Macedonia in second place again at 15. Only the group winner automatically qualifies for the World Cup.
“Our aim is to finish the rankings at the top,” said the coach, who replaced Joachim Loew in September and has won all six of his games so far, giving him the best starting record for a German coach.
“We want to beat Armenia and we have to be vigilant behind. They are a good opponent who wants to play well against us. We will have the necessary respect, but we also know our quality.”