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Neuer's Plan

World Champions aim to "lead from the outset"

The first international match of the new season against Finland (2-0) was an emotional affair in light of Bastian Schweinsteiger’s farewell, but it’s now down to business for Germany as they look to get their World Cup qualification off to a good start in Norway on Sunday (20:45 CEST). “Our last qualification campaign was a little shaky. I hope we’ve learnt from that,” said new captain Manuel Neuer recalling EURO qualification. He says the aim this time is to “lead from the outset.”

 “It’s a difficult task in the first competitive match of the season. The points will not just be handed to us,” said Thomas Müller, who expects a “tight game” in Oslo. Germany coach Joachim Löw, who has selected a squad of 19 players (three goalkeepers and 16 outfield players) for the trip to Scandinavia, stated, “We will take Norway seriously. Of course our requirement is to start World Cup qualification with a victory.” Müller agrees with his coach: “We just want three points.”

Neuer: “Follow in their footsteps”

The opposition are relatively unknown for the World Champions since the last meeting was over seven years ago (a 1-0 win for Norway in Düsseldorf). “It won’t be easy because we haven’t faced Norway in recent years and so don’t know the team inside out. But we will prepare well,” assured Neuer, who knows that the Norway players are “all disciplined, very athletic and fit.” Team manager Oliver Bierhoff has called for “respect and concentration. We know that we will win if we show commitment and our quality.”

FC Bayern’s goalkeeper, meanwhile, does not want to overplay his new role as the team’s leader on the pitch. “We have a strong core of leaders in the team and I have had an important role in the team and its leadership for some time. I don’t think that there will be a big change in my role as captain. I was already Bastian Schweinsteiger’s deputy for some time,” said Neuer. He continued, “I’m proud to be captain of Germany. Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger did a good job and I hope that I can follow in their footsteps.”