Neuer in DFB press conference: 'We only have finals'
Manuel Neuer has been wearing the national jersey for almost 12 years, but now a very special international year awaits him. The European Championship is coming up in the summer, and for the Bayern and Germany captain it's not just about a trophy that is still missing from his impressive collection. It will also be Joachim Löw's last tournament as national team coach and thus the end of a long time together for Neuer.
"I came here in 2009 as a baby. I've experienced everything with this coach. It's special for me too," said Neuer at the DFB press conference on Tuesday. In 2009 the goalkeeper made his debut for the national team under Löw. The two have since played 96 international matches, appearing in two European Championships and three World Cups. "We've had ups and downs together. The times have been mainly successful, with the absolute pinnacle of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil," continued the 34-year-old, who would like to do everything possible to give his long-term companion the "best possible ending".
Euro preparation begins
And that would be a successful Euro campaign in the summer. "We have ambitious goals. We want to crown the successful era with a nice ending and give Löw a parting gift. The coach deserves that after his successful tenure", stated Neuer.
Preparation for the tournament will begin this week with three World Cup qualifying matches against Iceland (25 March), Romania (28 March) and North Macedonia (31 March). "The three games are important for us to get going. We can't make mistakes any more," emphasised the 2014 World Cup winner.
Three finals in group stage
That is why Neuer does not want to entertain thoughts about possible successors to Löw. "We have to focus on what's really important - and that's the Euros," he clarified, noting how difficult the task will be in the summer. "It's a strong group with strong opponents. We only have finals," he said in view of the meetings with world champions France (15 June), European champions Portugal (19 June) and Hungary (23 June). But these are exactly the games that Manuel Neuer loves: "We're all up for it!"
Löw's former assistant Hansi Flick is making history at Bayern: