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Manuel Neuer impresses national coach Julian Nagelsmann in a Bayern Munich shirt at the moment

Photo: Sven Hoppe / dpa

Manuel Neuer can expect to return to goal for the German national football team in March. "If everything continues as it currently seems towards March, then that's what it comes down to," said national coach Julian Nagelsmann in the ZDF sports studio. In preparation for the European Championship, Germany will play World Cup runners-up France on 23 March and the Netherlands on 26 March.

Neuer's rival Marc-André ter Stegen of FC Barcelona will be out for a good two months after his back surgery. Ter Stegen had already missed Germany's two friendlies against Turkey (2-3) and Austria (0-2) due to back problems. Neuer had made a strong comeback at FC Bayern Munich after breaking his tibia and fibula. "I talk to him a lot. I think his performance is outstandingly good," Nagelsmann said of Neuer.

Both are exceptionally good goalkeepers. But ter Stegen is injured at the moment – so we'll see how he comes out of the injury. "At the end of the day, football is about being successful together. If one of the two is clearly better than the other in March, then I have the joy, but also the pain, to make decisions in both a positive and a negative sense," said Nagelsmann.

Ter Stegen had deputised for Neuer in eight of a possible eleven international matches this year during his injury break and was considered the clear German number one during this time. Neuer has always been in goal for Germany at the World Cup and European Championships since 2010.

Will World Cup winner Kroos make a comeback to the DFB team?

Nagelsmann, meanwhile, described a return of former World Cup winner Toni Kroos as an "interesting thought". If he performs at his best, I may call him again," said Nagelsmann. Kroos has ended his career in the German national team after 106 international appearances after Euro 2021. Recently, however, Kroos' German teammate at Real Madrid, Antonio Rüdiger, had fuelled speculation about a comeback of the 33-year-old 2014 World Cup winner.

Kroos recently commented on this after the 3-2 win with the Whites in the Champions League against 1. "I had to think about it for a long time, he caught me on the wrong foot because I didn't have that thought myself, it only came through him," Kroos told DAZN. "So I thought about it and gave him an answer that I can't give today." But he was already smiling, said Kroos.

Nagelsmann is working on the structure of the squad

Nagelsmann also wants to rebuild the starting eleven of the German team for better defensive work. "We need to change a little bit of the squad structure to become more defensive monsters," he said. He thus moved away from his plan to field the eleven best footballers.

"That's always the interesting question," Nagelsmann continued: "How do you fill the first eleven? How many players do you have in there who love to think offensively? And how many players do you cast with more defensive-minded minds?" The distribution "does not fit 100 percent with the status we have at the moment."

The national coach can now imagine Joshua Kimimch in the right-back position instead of in midfield, he is a candidate for the right-back. The experiment with Kai Havertz at left-back, on the other hand, is over. "But not because it failed. He played two very good games in that position," said Nagelsmann.