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Jun 12, 2014

Germany's Neuer set to face Portugal

Brazil legend Pele is tipping his home nation to come up against Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup final next month.

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is on track to play in his country's opening match of the World Cup against Portugal on Monday, goalkeeping coach Andreas Kopke told a news conference.

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Bayern Munich's Neuer suffered a shoulder injury in the 2-0 DFB-Pokal final win over Borussia Dortmund last month, but is set to be at full fitness by the time Joachim Low's side kick off their campaign in Brazil.

"Manuel is in a good way," Kopke said. "We deliberately did not take too many risks with him, especially regarding the Armenia match."

In that 6-1 friendly win -- as in the previous 2-2 draw with Cameroon -- Borussia Dortmund's Roman Weidenfeller stood in for Neuer.

But the Bayern player has returned to team training, with Kopke explaining: "We are in good spirits that he will be fit. He's realistic enough that he'd inform us should he not be able to. We still have a few days and it'll work out."

The goalkeeping coach also praised Weidenfeller, saying the Dortmund keeper trains "sensationally well."

However, he did not say whether Weidenfeller would remain as Germany's goalkeeper should Neuer suffer a setback and be unfit to face Portugal.

Meanwhile, Low's possible attacking lineup continues to dominate debate in Germany. Tabloid Bild reported that Mesut Ozil would get the chance to impress in the opening match, but warned: "He needs to deliver."

Should Ozil play, he could start as a "false nine" or in central attacking midfield, but kicker called for a different choice, saying: "Should Joachim Low opt for the "false nine," Mueller is the best choice," the paper commented. "He can be found anywhere in attack -- and he produces goals."

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