Marc-Andre ter Stegen hits back at Manuel Neuer as war of words between Germany rivals continues

The Germany internationals are currently embroiled in a very public spat

Luke Bosher
Tuesday 17 September 2019 16:05 BST
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Germany international Marc-Andre ter Stegen has blasted his international rival Manuel Neuer as “inappropriate” for criticising his own complaint about a lack of playing time for the national team.

Neuer has been Germany’s first-choice goalkeeper since the 2010 World Cup and has long been recognised as one of the world’s best, but his reputation began to falter during the 2017-18 season.

He missed most of Bayern’s domestic campaign, returning in June to the national team for the disastrous 2018 World Cup where Germany were eliminated in the group stage.

Ter Stegen, meanwhile, has seen has stock rise in the other direction since his move to Barcelona from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016. The 27-year-old has won plaudits throughout his time in Spain, but this has not been enough to convince Joachim Low to drop Bayern’s Neuer.

The Barcelona stopper revealed earlier this month that the experience of sitting on the bench behind Neuer for Germany’s two most recent European qualifiers drives him “a bit mad”. He did not directly criticise Neuer or Low, but instead reflected on his experiences in the national squad.

“It’s not easy to find an explanation for what I’m experiencing, I try my best to make that decision more difficult in every game, but I try everything, but this trip with the national team was a big blow for me,” Ter Stegen lamented to reporters in Spain.

Neuer, captain of Germany since Bastian Schweinsteiger’s retirement in 2016, hit back at Ter Stegen, saying his comments “do not help”, and are disrespectful to other first-rate German keepers, such as Arsenal’s Bernd Leno.

These comments clearly irked Ter Stegen, who did at least appear to want to quell the war of words with Neuer in its infancy.

“You can see how I have behaved in recent years and I don’t think that Neuer or others have to talk about my feelings or assess them.

“His remarks were inappropriate but I don’t want to say much more, I want to bring an end to all this controversy.”

Arsenal and Germany legend Jens Lehman, who himself duelled with Olivier Kahn in the German national team, has also weighed in on the debate.

Lehman, while full of praise for Ter Stegen’s desire to play, stated that “Manuel is better, he has everything, he is complete.”

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