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Nagelsmann confirms Neuer will make Germany comeback against Ukraine

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann drinks water during the team press conference, in prepartion for the Euro 2024 European Championship in Germany. Federico Gambarini/dpa
Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann drinks water during the team press conference, in prepartion for the Euro 2024 European Championship in Germany. Federico Gambarini/dpa

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann confirmed that goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will make his comeback to the national team in the friendly game against Ukraine on Monday.

"Manu will play. He made a good impression. Physically, he's in good shape and trained well. Manu has played a good and stable season. He will play a very good Euros, I'm sure of that," Nagelsmann said in a news conference on Sunday.

Neuer last played for Germany at the 2022 World Cup. He then suffered a season-ending leg fracture shortly afterwards and was sidelined for almost a year.

A comeback was originally planned at March friendlies against France and Netherlands but he had to leave the squad after suffering an injury during training.

Germany are preparing for friendly games against Ukraine on Monday and Greece on Friday at their Euro 2024 headquarters in Herzogenaurach ahead of the home tournament.

In the both tune-up matches, Nagelsmann is set to line up his preferred team for the opening match at the Euros against Scotland on June 14.

Against Ukraine, however, Champions League winners Toni Kroos and Antonio Rüdiger will still missing, as well as runners-up Niclas Füllkrug and Nico Schlotterbeck of Borussia Dortmund. The quartet is to arrive on Monday.

VfB Stuttgart's Waldemar Anton will replace Rüdiger in the defence, Naglsmann said, while Pascal Groß will replace Kroos in midfield.

Germany face Scotland, Hungary and Switzerland in the Euro 2024 group stage as they hope to go all the way to the final in Berlin on July 14.

Nagelsmann criticizes survey on squad's migratory background

Nagelsmann sharply criticized a controversial survey conducted shortly before the home Euro 2024, according to which one in five Germans would prefer to see more white players in the Germany national team again.

"I hope I never have to read about such a shitty survey again," he said. "I was shocked that such questions were asked - and that people answered them. I also see it as racist."

"I have the feeling that we need to wake up. There are simply an incredible number of people who have to seek refuge, who are looking for a safe country. We're playing the Euros for everyone in the country," Nagelsmann said.

In a survey conducted by Infratest dimap on behalf of broadcasters WDR for the "Unity and Justice and Diversity" documentary, 21% of respondents said that they would prefer to see more white players the Germany national team.

The majority of respondents (65%) disagreed or strongly disagreed with that statement.

Germany's provisional 27-man squad for the Euro 2024 this summer includes a number of players with a migratory background.

The survey was commissioned because during filming for the documentary, the producers were faced with racist statements about the national team, WDR said on Saturday.

"We are dismayed that the results are as they are, but they are also an expression of the social situation in Germany today. Sport plays an important role in our society, and the national team is a strong role model for integration," WDR sports bureau chief Karl Valks said.

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann answers questions from journalists during the team press conference, in prepartion for the Euro 2024 European Championship in Germany. Federico Gambarini/dpa
Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann answers questions from journalists during the team press conference, in prepartion for the Euro 2024 European Championship in Germany. Federico Gambarini/dpa
Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann answers questions from journalists during the team press conference, in prepartion for the Euro 2024 European Championship in Germany. Federico Gambarini/dpa
Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann answers questions from journalists during the team press conference, in prepartion for the Euro 2024 European Championship in Germany. Federico Gambarini/dpa