Euro 2020 Qualifiers: Germany coach Joachim Loew backs 'No 1' Manuel Neuer over Marc-Andre ter Stegen

Agence France-Presse

Berlin: Head coach Joachim Loew made it clear on Friday that captain Manuel Neuer will remain Germany's first-choice goalkeeper, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen as understudy, through to next June's Euro 2020 finals.

Debate has raged in Germany over whether Ter Stegen, 27, should usurp Bayern Munich veteran Neuer, 33, in the number one shirt.

In-form Barcelona goalkeeper Ter Stegen complained about being stuck on the bench for the 4-2 home thrashing by the Netherlands last month in a key Euro 2020 qualifier.

Bayern Munich's outspoken president Uli Hoeness even threatened to stop their stars playing for Germany if Neuer was dropped, a notion he soon abandoned after realising such action could lead to FIFA sanctions.

Loew refused to enter the debate and settled the matter emphatically when announcing his squad for Wednesday's friendly against Argentina in Dortmund and the Euro 2020 qualifier four days later away to Estonia.

Back-up keeper Ter Stegen will play in the friendly against Argentina, who are without the suspended Lionel Messi, with Neuer returning for the important qualifier in Tallinn.

"For both games, I have decided... that Marc will play in Dortmund and 'Manu' (Neuer) in Tallinn. We have told both players," said Loew.

"I have emphasised several times that Manuel Neuer is our captain, and therefore also our Number One for the time being, with the European Championship in mind €" if nothing out of the ordinary happens".

The Germans need to beat Estonia away to stay top of a tight Group C as the third-placed Netherlands are just three points behind with a game in hand while Northern Ireland are level with the Germans on 12 points.

They smashed Estonia, who have lost all five qualifiers so far, 8-0 when the teams met in a group game in Mainz last June.

Elsewhere, there are no surprises in the squad with Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Nadiem Amiri as the only newcomer.

The 21-man squad includes Ilkay Gundogan - who Pep Guardiola recently refered to as "one of the best signings in Manchester City's history" - and Serge Gnabry, who claimed four goals in Bayern Munich's 7-2 thrashing of Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League in midweek.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona/ESP), Bernd Leno (Arsenal/ENG) Defenders: Matthias Ginter (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Marcel Halstenberg (RB Leipzig), Jonas Hector (Cologne), Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig), Niklas Stark (Hertha Berlin), Niklas Suele (Bayern Munich), Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen)

Midfielders/forwards: Nadiem Amiri (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund), Emre Can (Juventus/ITA), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City/ENG), Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid/ESP), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Luca Waldschmidt (Freiburg), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig).

Also See: Bayern Munich chief Uli Hoeness backtracks on boycott threat to German national team over Manuel Neuer's spot

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