Neuer's World Cup hopes dealt fresh blow

The Germany international has been out of action since September and is running out of time in an effort to force his way into Joachim Low's squad

Manuel Neuer admits to being uncertain as to whether he will make Germany’s World Cup squad as he waits on a return to action at Bayern Munich.

Having formed part of a squad which swept to global glory in 2014, the 32-year-old is hoping to help defend that crown in Russia.

Neuer has, however, been out of action since September, with niggling foot complaints keeping him on the sidelines.

He has been back in training since early April, but is yet to come back into the Bayern side.

The Bundesliga champions wrap up their league campaign against Stuttgart on Saturday before facing Eintracht Frankfurt in the DFB-Pokal final on May 19.

With time running out to force his way into Joachim Low’s squad, Neuer told reporters on his international ambitions at the launch of Bayern’s new home kit for 2018-19: “I cannot say anything right now.

“I feel good with the things I am doing in training right now but there's no forecast. I have to make the right decision for me, for the team and for Germany.

“It doesn't help when you're rushing this decision. I want to improve day by day and I try to regain my fitness as fast as possible.

“The steps that I already made were good and positive. I try to continue that way. Then we will see if that is enough.”

Oliver Schmidtlein, former Bayern and Germany physio, believes Neuer would unlikely be available until after the group stages.

"I think the earliest he could be involved is in the knockout stages of the World Cup," he told Sport Bild.

"Manuel won't be able to train in this situation, despite the time constraints, or he risks his recovery."

Defending champions Germany will kick off their 2018 World Cup campaign against Mexico on June 17.

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They are also set to face Sweden and South Korea after being placed in Group F.

It remains to be seen whether Neuer will play any part in those fixtures, with a man who was once considered untouchable for club and country suddenly facing fierce competition.

Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen has impressed again this season in the absence of an international rival, while Bayern Leverkusen’s Bernd Leno and Paris Saint-Germain’s Kevin Trapp are also in contention.