Bayern Munich president threatens boycott of German national team
Club president Hoeness says he will never accept Neuer losing his No. 1 jersey
Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has threatened to deprive the German national team of players from the Bundesliga champions if Manuel Neuer loses his spot as Die Mannschaft's No. 1, Sport Bild said yesterday.
Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 27, is Neuer's understudy and controversially played second fiddle to the Bayern man at Germany's disastrous World Cup title defence last year.
Joachim Loew picked Neuer as his No. 1 in Russia despite the fact he was injured for almost the entire 2017/18 season, playing just four games for Bayern in that campaign.
Ter Stegen said little then but recently voiced his frustration at being made second choice for his country.
The two players have traded barbed remarks with ter Stegen last week accusing Neuer of making "inappropriate" comments, reported AFP.
Hoeness, however, has spoken up for Neuer and criticised Loew and the German Football Association (DFB) for not backing the Bayern star more vocally.
"We will never accept that there will be a change," the German sports daily quoted Hoeness as saying.
"Before that happens, we would prevent any of our players turning out for the national side."
Along with Neuer, Bayern contribute several key players to the national squad.
Any boycott would deprive Loew of defender Niklas Suele, midfielders Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka as well as winger Serge Gnabry.
Loew had promised to give ter Stegen more playing time this year, but so far, he has made just one appearance for Germany, a 45-minute cameo in a friendly against Serbia in March.
Under Fifa rules, Bayern could face sanctions ranging from fines to exclusion from competitions for depriving the national team of players.
Germany's 1990 World Cup-winning goalkeeper Bodo Illgner suggested that the simmering tension between Neuer and ter Stegen might need to be resolved by dropping one of them.
He said: "If things don't resolve themselves, you might have to leave one of them out."
NO CASE FOR TER STEGEN
Fellow former Germany custodian Jens Lehmann, meanwhile, took a swipe at ter Stegen, saying: "If I lose 4-0 against Liverpool, I cannot really claim to be the best."
Ter Stegen was in goal when Liverpool beat Barcelona en route to winning the Champions League last season.
Said Lehmann: "If both are 100 per cent, Manuel is better, he has everything and is a very complete goalkeeper...
"Marc-Andre still has time, I entered the national team only at 27."
The outspoken Lehmann was famously embroiled in a fierce rivalry with goalkeeping legend Oliver Kahn over the coveted Die Mannschaft No. 1 jersey.
Kahn was Germany's first choice for most of his career, but Juergen Klinsmann made Lehmann his No. 1 for the 2006 World Cup.