Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer can make history today by clocking up a record 96th appearance in goals for Germany when they take on Spain in a Nations League game.
Neuer equalled Sepp Maier’s record of 95 appearances for a Germany goalkeeper, set in 1979, in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Ukraine in Leipzig.
The 34-year-old can claim the record outright when Germany play Spain to decide their Nations League group.
“It’s about time. It’s 41 years since I set the record and I congratulate him,” Maier, 76, told DPA last week.
Maier is tipping him to rack up a century of appearances for Germany with seven months to go before their opening match of the postponed Euro championships against world champions France in Munich.
Maier asked why Neuer should hang up his gloves: “There is nothing wrong with him.”
The Bayern stopper proved he remains at his best by hoisting the Champions League trophy for the second time in August in Lisbon, having also won the 2013 final in London with the Bavarian giants.
Neuer made his international debut in 2009, became Germany’s first-choice keeper the following year and has kept 41 clean sheets in his 95 appearances.
Over the last decade, he has reinterpreted the position like Russia’s Lev Yashin did in the 1960s or France’s 1998 World Cup winner Fabien Barthez achieved in his era – Maier is as known for his dominant presence in goal as much as his ability to leave the penalty area and act as an extra defender.
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By Ofhani Munyai