The last few days in the German media have been largely dominated by the shock elimination of the national team from World Cup 2022. Germany finished third in Group E behind Japan and Spain. Along with several German players, senior players from Bayern Munich are also facing criticism for an early exit.
Germany started the tournament on the wrong note with a defeat against Japan on matchday one. They needed a positive result in the first game of the group of death to set the tone for the tournament. Hansi Flick’s team performed well against Spain, but they only managed to get one point in the game.
The draw against Spain meant Germany’s destiny was not entirely in their hands. They did their part by beating Costa Rica, but Spain’s defeat against Japan made sure that they were knocked out in the group stage for the second consecutive World Cup.
Courtesy of the elimination of the World Cup 2022, there are questions about several players’ long-term future in the national team. While talking to Bild, former Bayern defender Lothar Matthaus insisted that Germany needs to use other goalkeepers frequently, which will ensure that there is a significant challenge for Manuel Neuer to get into the starting XI.
"“We have the quality, you can try out ter Stegen, Trapp or Leno in the next few games, give them the opportunity to show whether you can rely on them. Especially after the Costa Rica game, where Neuer made unusual mistakes. All three are world class. Even if Manu is out, I have no worries regarding Trapp or ter Stegen.”"
Neuer had a difficult time in the last two World Cup campaigns. He failed to keep a clean sheet in each of his last six World Cup appearances. The 35-year-old shot-stopper was not alone at fault for goals conceded by Germany across two tournaments, but he has not been at his best to bail his team out.
Moreover, Neuer also looked shaky on the ball when the team was trying to build from the cap. He has been a fantastic player for the German national team, but under-par performances in back-to-back two World Cup campaigns are bound to raise eyebrows. Neuer being the captain of the team adds more spotlight on him.
The 35-year-old shot-stopper has ruled out retirement from the international tournament as of now, but it remains to be seen if DFB wants to make wholesale changes to the team. Ahead of the Euros 2024 in Germany, DFB will be looking to build a solid core in the next 18 months. It will be interesting to see if Manuel Neuer will be part of DFB’s plans for this tournament.
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DFB is yet to make a decision on the future of Hansi Flick. It remains to be seen if they look for a coaching change with just 18 months left for the next big tournament. The future of senior players and Hansi Flick is likely to be clear by the time the international break arrives later this season.