BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s first-choice keeper Marc Andre ter Stegen has been ruled out of their friendly internationals against Turkey and Austria with a back injury, coach Julian Nagelsmann said on Friday.
Barcelona’s Ter Stegen, who has been the Germany’s keeper since Manuel Neuer broke his leg a year ago will return to Spain.
“Marc Andre will miss both matches. He has acute back pain. He will probably return to Barcelona. He can’t train and he can’t play,” Nagelsmann told a press conference.
“I can’t say exactly what happened. My information is strong back pain which restricts his movement. He felt it a bit yesterday in training but today it got worse.”
Although Neuer returned to action with Bayern Munich a few weeks ago, Nagelsmann decided to give him a break as he starts the task of building a team for next year’s Euro on home soil.
Nagelsmann did not say who would start against Turkey on Saturday and Austria on Tuesday with keepers Kevin Trapp, Janis Blaswich and Oliver Baumann in the squad.
“We have been a bit surprised by the news (about ter Stegen) that came just this afternoon. We will have to wait now for the last training before making a decision,” said the former Bayern Munich coach.
Saturday’s match at Berlin’s sold-out Olympic stadium will be the first home game for Nagelsmann, who took over in September, replacing Hansi Flick.
In his first two matches in charge during a U.S. trip last month, Germany beat the United States 3-1 and drew 2-2 with Mexico.
Nagelsmann said it was a good defence that would be key for his team going into next year’s tournament.
The Germans, four-times world champions, have struggled in recent major competitions, having crashed out in the first round in the last two World Cups and been eliminated in the round of 16 in the last European Championship in 2021.
“We have to show good stability (in defence). We should not lose possession, that’s a good way to defend,” Nagelsmann said.
“Defensive stability especially ahead of a tournament is important.”
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)