Sven Ulreich has been called up to the Germany squad for the first time after a thumb injury ruled Arsenal's Bernd Leno out of Die Mannschaft's forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Belarus and Estonia.

Bayern Munich's Ulreich made just nine Bundesliga appearances as his side won the title in 2018-19 but Germany's goalkeeping coach Andreas Kopke said he had earned his chance for the national team after deputising ably for Manuel Neuer at Allianz Arena.

Ulreich joins Neuer and Eintracht Frankfurt's Kevin Trapp in Germany's squad for the qualifiers, the first of which is the trip to Belarus on June 8th. 

Kopke told AZ: "Sven deserves this call-up.

"When he was needed this season, he was there and showed top performances at Bayern, 

"That is a great quality."

Leno was an unused substitute in Arsenal's 4-1 Europa League final defeat to Chelsea but Kopke indicated the 27-year-old has been struggling for some time.

"I know Bernd is suffering from pain for weeks," said Kopke.

"The thumb is immobilised with a bracer so we have to do without him in the upcoming games."

Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben have been named on Bayern Munich's bench for the DFB-Pokal final against RB Leipzig, with Manuel Neuer starting.

Long-serving duo Ribery and Robben came on as substitutes against Eintracht Frankfurt in their final Bundesliga appearances for Bayern last time out, both scoring in a 5-1 win that sealed a seventh-successive league crown.

And both players will again begin among the replacements on Saturday in what is their farewell Bayern game, head coach Niko Kovac sticking with Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry.

They are joined on the bench by Rafinha, who is also calling time on his Bayern career after the clash at the Olympiastadion.

Another Bayern stalwart, Neuer, does start, after he returned from injury against Eintracht, with Kovac making just one alteration to his XI - the injured Leon Goretzka making way for Javi Martinez.

Leipzig drew 0-0 with Bayern in the penultimate Bundesliga fixture of the season, and Ralf Rangnick has made two changes from his starting XI in that fixture, with Tyler Adams and Kevin Kampl coming in for Diego Demme and Konrad Laimer.

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will return from six weeks out injured to start the DFB-Pokal final against RB Leipzig on Saturday, Niko Kovac has confirmed.

Neuer was substituted in the second half of the 4-1 Bundesliga victory over Fortuna Dusseldorf on April 14 after aggravating an existing calf issue.

The captain was initially ruled out for two weeks but has not played since, with Bayern keen not to rush him back into action.

However, Neuer trained this week and Kovac revealed the World Cup winner will be back between the posts against Leipzig in Berlin.

"I can say Manuel will play," the coach told a news conference on Friday. "He is our captain and has done well this season. He is a cornerstone of our team."

Saturday's match will be the last opportunity for departing stars Rafinha, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben to feature for Bayern.

However, Kovac insists he cannot allow that to play into his thinking when it comes to team selection.

He said: "It will be the last competitive match for these three top players, but we have a very difficult task - as we did against Eintracht Frankfurt [in the Bundesliga last weekend].

"It will be a very difficult decision for me, because I know how hard it is. But we have players who did a great job in the second half of the season, so I have to give them the confidence that they deserve.

"I can only choose 11 players, but everything is possible [on Saturday]. Everyone can play - even the three that are leaving Bayern."

Kovac and Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge have insisted he will remain as coach next season, yet the former Frankfurt boss was not willing to discuss his future.

"We have a cup final ahead of us," he said. "We should talk about football. I want to throw all my energy into the team and the job. My future is secondary."

Manuel Neuer and James Rodriguez have trained with Bayern Munich ahead of the DFB-Pokal final.

Niko Kovac's side face RB Leipzig in Berlin on Saturday as they seek to complete a domestic double, having held off the challenge of Borussia Dortmund to retain the Bundesliga title.

Captain Neuer has been out of action due to a calf injury since mid-April but could return to take the gloves against Leipzig after taking part in Tuesday's session.

James, who has not played this month as a result of his own calf issues, was also involved, with the Colombia international set for what could be a farewell appearance as his two-year loan from Real Madrid expires next month.

Leon Goretzka was absent from the session - the former Schalke midfielder training alone due to a knock sustained during Saturday's title-clinching defeat of Eintracht Frankfurt.

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has set his sights on replacing Manuel Neuer as Germany's first-choice goalkeeper.

Bayern Munich star Neuer has been Joachim Low's regular starter since before the 2010 World Cup, with Ter Stegen established as his back-up in recent years.

Neuer has captained his country since Bastian Schweinsteiger's international retirement in 2016, but Ter Stegen wants to take his place between the sticks.

"Of course, you hope to play. Now my expectations are to keep improving in order to become Germany's number one," he said in quotes reported by Sport.

Semifinals !! #DesireToWin@ChampionsLeague @FCBarcelona pic.twitter.com/bxZUhKwKUT

— Marc ter Stegen (@mterstegen1) April 16, 2019

Ter Stegen was guilty of making some high-profile mistakes early on in his international career, but he insists those errors have made him grow as a player.

"Those experiences make you stronger," the 26-year-old explained.

"The goalkeeper is the last man and you can make mistakes. There are errors I'd like to forget about, or that I'd love to go back in time and change.

"Now I handle it better. Mistakes happen but you must keep improving."

Bayern Munich's back-up goalkeeper Sven Ulreich has advised Alexander Nubel to remain at Schalke should the Bundesliga champions come calling.

Nubel has been a standout performer for struggling Schalke this term, and reports have emerged linking the 22-year-old with a transfer to Bayern - a move the club's current number one Manuel Neuer made in 2011.

Ulreich moved to Bayern to be their back-up goalkeeper in 2015, though he made 29 Bundesliga appearances in 2017-18 due to Neuer sustaining a foot injury early in the campaign.

Former Stuttgart stopper Ulreich returned to Bayern's line-up for their win over Werder Bremen on Saturday, with Neuer sustaining a calf injury in the 4-1 victory over Fortuna Dusseldorf six days earlier.

And Ulreich has suggested that Germany Under-21 international Nubel, who has made 18 appearances across all competitions this season, should reject any potential Bayern advances and instead focus on regular first-team action.

"I do not think that Nubel wants to come here as number two, if he can play at Schalke," Ulreich told Sport Bild.

"I do not think he wants to sit down behind Manu at the age of 22.

"I think if he came, he would want to play, so that makes no sense in my view. Neuer is absolutely undisputed."

Ulreich is set to start once more for Bayern when they take on Bremen in the DFB-Pokal semi-finals on Wednesday, with Neuer due back from injury in time to play against RB Leipzig on May 11.

Manuel Neuer will not be rushed back to the Bayern Munich team after his latest injury blow, says Niko Kovac.

Neuer was ruled out for two weeks after sustaining a calf injury in Bayern's last game, a Bundesliga win over Fortuna Dusseldorf.

He is therefore out for Saturday's home league game against Werder Bremen, as well as the DFB-Pokal semi-final away to the same opposition four days later.

Sven Ulreich is in line to deputise for Neuer, as he did throughout last season when the Bayern captain was sidelined long-term with a foot injury.

Kovac plans to give Neuer plenty of time to recover, while Mats Hummels and James Rodriguez are also injury doubts for the first Werder game.

"We will take no chances with Manuel, let him come back slowly," Kovac told reporters on Thursday.

"Sven absolutely has our trust. He has earned this trust, we can always rely on him. I'm very, very optimistic.

"Mats is running, he feels good, we'll see if he can play against Werder on Saturday.

"If he's not 100 per cent fit, he will not play, we have [Jerome] Boateng, [Niklas] Sule is suspended in the cup, so we're reliant on Mats.

"James has trouble with his adductors, he's not sure if he can play, apart from Arjen Robben all are fit.

"[Corentin] Tolisso is making great strides and we have to see if he plays this season, depending on what the others are doing."

Bayern have recorded 18 straight wins in all competitions against Bremen, who have not avoided defeat in this fixture since 2010.

Kovac's side can take a huge step towards a domestic double by extending that run further, but Kovac is demanding full focus on staying clear of title rivals Borussia Dortmund.

"We only think of the Bundesliga match against Werder," Kovac added. "The DFB-Pokal is much further away and we will draw the necessary conclusions from the first game.

"If we implement all the principles and structures, it will be very difficult to score goals against us, but that is a prerequisite: we all have to join in."

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer laughed at rumours he was going to announce his retirement to the media on Wednesday.

Neuer sustained a calf injury against Fortuna Dusseldorf on Sunday, ruling him out for two weeks, and when it was revealed he was set to hold a news conference speculation over his future mounted.

The 33-year-old missed the majority of the 2017-18 season due to a fractured foot and spent time out due to a thumb issue before sustaining a calf problem in March.

Head coach Niko Kovac confirmed Neuer suffered a recurrence of the latter injury at the weekend, but the keeper was surprised by suggestions he was set to hang up his boots.

"We were laughing about that to be honest," said Neuer. "We agreed on this press conference a week ago and I just guaranteed that I'd be available because a lot of people wanted to hear me speak, so that's why I didn't cancel this."

Neuer, who hopes to return in time to face RB Leipzig on May 11, thinks his muscle issues are part and parcel of coming back from a long-term absence.

"I think I'll be able to work more after two weeks, but it's difficult to tell you when I'll return to the pitch. My goal is to return to fitness as soon as possible and to do everything I can to achieve that," he said.

"I think Leipzig is a realistic goal for me, but we'll have to take it step by step. I should be able to train fully after two weeks.

"Looking back, I was injured for more than a year after I fractured my foot and was on crutches for six months and honestly I expected to have muscle injuries much sooner, like in the first half of the season.

"I was injured for so long that it's normal to have minor muscle issues. Fortunately, it's only a minor one now, nothing that'll keep me out for a couple months.

"You can't predict these things. It's not like I have any regrets or am frustrated with past decisions – nothing indicated an injury and these things just happen in top professional sports."

Sven Ulreich is expected to start in place of Neuer when Bayern take on Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on Saturday and the DFB-Pokal semi-finals four days later.

After impressing during Neuer's absence last season, Ulreich committed a huge error at the Santiago Bernabeu when the Bavarian giants were eliminated from the Champions League semi-finals by Real Madrid.

However, Neuer believes his understudy has proven himself a competent keeper and will help the team navigate a pair of tricky matches against Bremen.

"I don't think we should talk about that [his mistake against Madrid], but about how many good games he played. We know he showed very good performances in the past and I'm convinced he'll do so in the next games," he said.

"[Bremen] are a very strong team, they like to play football, they're good at counter-attacking and have a strong offence.

"They won away against Dortmund, they've got good spirit and unit and that's why we should be wary. It's definitely not going to be easy."

Thomas Muller says he would deliberately miss a penalty if Bayern Munich were awarded one like Fortuna Dusseldorf's in their Bundesliga clash on Sunday.

Bayern were 3-0 up thanks to a brace from Kingsley Coman and a Serge Gnabry strike when Mats Hummels was penalised for handball inside the area following a VAR review.

Substitute Dodi Lukebakio stroked home the resulting spot-kick in the 89th minute, but Muller insists he would have purposely missed had the Bavarian giants been awarded a penalty in the same circumstances.

"Of course, the ball clearly hits the hand. I don't know how the rest of Germany sees it, but as a striker I would not want a penalty like that for us. I would deliberately miss it," he told Sky.

Fortuna coach Friedhelm Funkel, however, disagreed with Muller's assessment.

He said: "We have had to accept a penalty for less, so it was a crystal-clear penalty for me, which of course does not change the deserved victory for Bayern Munich."

Leon Goretzka struck in stoppage time to seal a 4-1 win that lifted Bayern one point above Borussia Dortmund at the Bundesliga summit with five games remaining.

Muller admitted the reigning champions are feeling the pressure of such a close title race.

"We always have pressure and we have to deliver," he added. "It does not hurt us if we have a bit of pressure.

"This is how we have to go on. Dortmund are currently not brilliant, but they are delivering the results and that puts us under pressure.

"We have it in our own hands, so we have to play it game by game. We want to win all the remaining games."

Bayern confirmed on Sunday that Manuel Neuer, who limped off in the second half with another calf injury, will be out for two weeks and Mats Hummels will "take a short break from training" after straining his thigh.

Manuel Neuer will miss around two weeks after reinjuring his calf in Bayern Munich's win at Fortuna Dusseldorf, the club have confirmed.

The goalkeeper aggravated an existing issue when he slipped while attempting a pass in the second half at Merkur Spiel-Arena.

The same problem kept Bayern's captain out of recent matches against Freiburg and Heidenheim and he is now in doubt for at least two of the club's final five Bundesliga fixtures.

Niko Kovac's men, a point clear at the top, host Werder Bremen and visit Nurnberg in the next fortnight, with a DFB-Pokal encounter against Werder in between.

Mats Hummels is also under a fitness cloud after straining his thigh in the late stages of Sunday's 4-1 success.

Bayern announced the centre-back will take a "short break from training" as they seek to stay on track for a seventh straight title.

Kingsley Coman's double and one apiece from Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka earlier lifted the champions to a convincing away win.

Head coach Kovac commended his team's conviction in building on last weekend's 5-0 thumping of second-placed Borussia Dortmund.

"We were serious over 90 minutes, we didn't allow many chances, it was the right margin of victory," he said.

"The team did a very good job. We're Bundesliga leaders again, and we don't want to give it away."

Niko Kovac has confirmed Manuel Neuer suffered an injury to the same calf that kept him out of action earlier this month in Bayern Munich's 4-1 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf on Sunday.

The Germany international pulled up early in the second half after slipping while attempting to make a pass and was replaced by Sven Ulreich.

Neuer missed Bayern's DFB-Pokal quarter-final win against Heidenheim on April 3 but was fit enough to feature in his side's 5-0 thumping of title rivals Borussia Dortmund last weekend.

Speaking after the game, though, Kovac says the 33-year-old – who missed almost the entirety of the 2017-18 season with a broken foot – has damaged the same calf that previously troubled him.

"It's the same calf that he had problems with last time," he said. "We'll examine it tomorrow [Monday] and hope, of course, that it's nothing serious."

Bayern's win over Fortuna lifted them back above Borussia Dortmund at the Bundesliga summit by one point with five games remaining.

Bayern Munich reclaimed their position at the Bundesliga summit with a comfortable 4-1 win at Fortuna Dusseldorf on Sunday.

Borussia Dortmund had unseated Niko Kovac's men on Saturday after edging past Mainz, but the Bavarian giants restored their one-point advantage thanks to a double from Kingsley Coman and strikes from Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka.

Coman opened the scoring in the 15th minute with a low cross that deceived goalkeeper Michael Rensing and then added a second after 41 minutes by applying a cool finishing touch to a flowing move.

The impressive Gnabry added a third 10 minutes into the second half as Bayern – who lost Manuel Neuer to injury shortly after the interval – cruised to the most routine of victories despite Dodi Lukebakio's late penalty, after which Goretzka restored their three-goal margin.

Bayern started in typically dominant fashion and clipped the post inside five minutes when a combination of Coman and Fortuna defender Matthias Zimmermann got on the end of Gnabry's low cross.

Coman was not to be denied after 15 minutes, though. The France international whipped in a low cross from the left, and despite Thomas Muller's best efforts to get a touch, the ball nestled into the bottom corner without any assistance.

Robert Lewandowski then sent a 25-yard free-kick agonisingly wide of Rensing's right-hand post before Coman scored his second four minutes before the interval, the 22-year-old steering into the top corner from eight yards after he had been picked out by Joshua Kimmich.

Bayern started where they left off at the beginning of the second period, Rensing superbly denying Thiago Alcantara from close range.

Moments after Neuer was withdrawn after pulling up making a pass, the visitors added a third when Gnabry stole in at the back post from a corner to prod home.

Lukebakio scored a consolation goal in the 89th minute after Mats Hummels had been penalised by a VAR review for handball but Goretzka had the final word, stroking home from close range as Kovac's side took another step towards a seventh consecutive Bundesliga title.


What does it mean? Bayern build on Dortmund thrashing

Bayern's 5-0 thumping of Dortmund last weekend would have counted for little if they had not backed it up with another three points at Fortuna. They were never in danger of slipping up, though, as Coman and company made light work of their hosts to reclaim pole position ahead of the season's final five games.

Coman pulls no punches

In the week that he was involved in a training ground bust-up with Lewandowski, Coman delivered a knockout blow to Fortuna with a scintillating first half-display. The former Juventus man has endured a injury-hit campaign but demonstrated exactly what he is capable of when in full flow. 

Neuer injury spoils perfect day

The Germany international has endured a difficult few years with injuries and he will be hoping that this latest setback does not rule him out for the closing weeks of the season.

What's next?

Bayern host Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on Saturday, while Fortuna travel to Mainz.

Manuel Neuer limped out of Bayern Munich's Bundesliga clash with Fortuna Dusseldorf on Sunday.

The Germany international pulled up early in the second half after slipping while attempting to make a pass.

Neuer missed Bayern's DFB-Pokal quarter-final win against Heidenheim on April 3 with a calf injury but was fit enough to feature in his side's 5-0 thumping of title rivals Borussia Dortmund last weekend.

Neuer missed almost the entirety of the 2017-18 season with a broken foot, but has played 37 times in all competitions this season.

Niko Kovac insisted the Bundesliga title race is not over despite Bayern Munich storming to the summit with a 5-0 hammering of Borussia Dortmund.

Robert Lewandowski's brace and one apiece from Mats Hummels, Javi Martinez and Serge Gnabry earned the Bavarians a resounding Klassiker triumph on Saturday and sent them hurtling back into top spot with six games to go.

Bayern were brilliant in a four-goal first half at Allianz Arena that blew away the visitors and set up a 14th win in 16 league matches.

Kovac applauded his side's sparkling showing in what could prove a decisive result in the club's bid to be crowned champions for the seventh straight season.

"I think we turned in a top performance, a great performance over 90 minutes," Kovac said.

"The first half in particular was sensationally good in every respect. The way we played was very impressive.

"I'm glad, and I'd like to congratulate my team on it. The margin of victory was completely deserved.

"We still have six matches to go, and you have seen how fast it can change in the league. Very, very difficult matches are awaiting both Dortmund and us, so we won't say everything's decided."

Bayern captain Manuel Neuer was barely troubled in his first match back from a calf injury as Dortmund mustered a lone shot on target.

The goalkeeper labelled the victory a breakthrough moment in a campaign that has taken time to get going.

"We were very dominant," Neuer said. "It was a good team display, and I'm very, very glad about it.

"It was the first big-point match we've won. We had to wait for it for a long time.

"We played well in every position, up front, at the back, and most importantly we worked together."

Niko Kovac has demanded defensive "responsibility and discipline" from his Bayern Munich side in Saturday's mouth-watering clash against Borussia Dortmund.

Kovac was stunned by his side's defending in their dramatic 5-4 DFB-Pokal quarter-final win against second-tier Heidenheim on Wednesday.

Bayern host Dortmund, who are two points clear of them at the Bundesliga summit, on Saturday and Kovac wants every member of his team to contribute to keeping their opponents at bay – regardless of their position.

"It's about responsibility and discipline," he told a media conference on Thursday. "I do not just start with the defenders, it starts earlier. You have to be ready, no matter what your level.

"France have become world champions because they played well but also defended well.

"It is not for nothing that titles are decided at the back. We have to come back to defending well, as individuals and as a team.

"That's what we have to go back to, but you have to want it even if you're an artist.

"It will be an interesting game. The team that makes fewer mistakes will win."

Kovac also waded into the debate over Jerome Boateng's reported plan to throw a party hours after the clash with Dortmund.

The club's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic believes Boateng's decision is ill-advised – a view the Bayern boss broadly agrees with.

"Personally, I do not think he should have started this party, but on the other hand, everyone has to decide for themselves what they do in their free time," he explained.

Manuel Neuer missed the tie against Heidenheim with a calf injury, while Robert Lewandowski was only fit enough to be named as a substitute after suffering from illness.

Kovac said a late decision will be made on Neuer's fitness but he thinks Lewandowski – who came off the bench to score Bayern's winning goal from the penalty spot – will be "fine".

He also confirmed that David Alaba, who has missed his side's last two games through injury, has returned to training and could feature, but James Rodriguez has a problem with his adductor and could miss out.

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