Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 27 September 2020

Robert Lewandowski, Philippe Coutinho and Manuel Neuer prepare for Bayern's Lisbon showdown with Barcelona - in pictures

Goalkeeper Neuer is also facing a challenge for his Germany spot

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will be bidding to keep hold of Germany's No 1 shirt when he comes up against Barca's Marc-Andre Ter Stegen in Friday's Champions League quarter-final.

The 34-year-old Neuer, who took part in training in Lisbon with his Bayern teammates ahead of the match, has been Germany captain since Bastian Schweinsteiger retired in 2016.

However, Ter Stegen is itching to usurp him as Germany's first choice, and there is not much to separate the pair.

"In several areas that characterise modern goalkeepers, I consider them to be equal," said Bodo Illgner, Germany's goalkeeper 30 years ago when Lothar Matthaeus lifted the World Cup at Italy 1990.

The 53-year-old says the pair are similar in their "play on the line, in one-on-ones, their charisma, and even in a penalty shoot-out".

Illgner believes Neuer has a more commanding presence "as a boss in his own penalty area".

After years as second choice for Germany, the 28-year-old Ter Stegen, who has made 24 international appearances, finally ran out of patience last September.

He caused a stir by saying he could not understand why Neuer, Germany's goalkeeper since 2010, remained undisputed first-choice under coach Joachim Loew.

Bayern's outspoken former president Uli Hoeness waded into the ensuing debate saying that Ter Stegen had "no right" to claim the position.

Neuer, voted the world's best goalkeeper for four years straight until 2016, has the physical edge as he stands 1.92 metres to Ter Stegen's 1.87m, and makes every centimetre count when he is bearing down on a striker in the penalty area.

"Both are great when it comes to being an 11th outfield player. Neuer has been the absolute benchmark in this area, but Ter Stegen has become a bit better than the original," Illgner said.

Updated: August 13, 2020 11:32 AM

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