Germany’s Neuer, Reus to miss Armenia qualifier, ter Stegen in goal

BERLIN : Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and midfielder Marco Reus will not be part of the squad that takes on Armenia on Sunday in a World Cup qualifier, with coach Hansi Flick resting them due to a busy match schedule.

Flick is already without Leon Goretzka, who got kicked in the face in Germany’s 9-0 win over Liechtenstein on Thursday, as well as suspended defender Antonio Ruediger.

The already-qualified Germans are also missing five players due to quarantine rules after defender Niklas Suele tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week.

“Manuel and Marco have played a lot of games so far,” Flick told a virtual news conference on Saturday. “We did that in order to control their burden and for them to get a breather ahead of the coming matches they have to play.”

“This is the right way. They still have to play a large number of matches, especially those who also play in international (club) competitions.”

Flick said Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen would start in goal with attacking midfielder Kai Havertz also in the lineup.

“The team that is here has our absolute trust,” he said. “It can also happen in a tournament that someone is injured or suspended. That is why alternatives are important.”

The Germans have already secured top spot in Group J and are on 24 points, with second-placed North Macedonia back on 15. Only the group winner earns automatic World Cup qualification.

“Our aim is to finish the qualification on a high,” said the coach, who took over from Joachim Loew in September and has won all six of his matches so far, giving him the best ever starting record for a Germany coach.

“We want to beat Armenia and we need to be alert at the back. They are a good opponent who want to play well against us. We will have the necessary respect, but we also know our quality.”

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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