Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness did a U-turn on Wednesday on his threat to deprive the German national side of Bayern players if Manuel Neuer loses the number one goalkeeper spot to Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
“Mr. Hoeness held discussions about the position of the number one in the national team that, with hindsight, he would not hold today,” a spokesperson told the website of the German weekly Der Spiegel. “The subject has long been closed for him, and he will not comment on it anymore.”
Hoeness had earlier spoken up for Neuer who has been trading remarks with Ter Stegen after the Barca ‘keeper voiced his frustration at his understudy role.
German coach Joachim Loew had promised to give Ter Stegen more playing time in 2019 but so far he has made just one appearance for Germany, a 45-minute cameo in a friendly against Serbia last March.
When Neuer suggested that Ter Stegen had hurt the team by speaking out publicly, the Barcelona goalkeeper accused the veteran of making “inappropriate” comments. That prompted Hoeness to weigh into the fray, criticising Loew and the national federation for not backing the Bayern star more vocally.
“We will never accept that there will be a change,” the sports daily Sport Bild quoted Hoeness as saying. “Before that happens we would prevent any of our players turning out for the national side.”
Along with Neuer, Bayern contribute several key players to the national squad. Any boycott would deprive Loew of Niklas Suele, Joshua Kimmich, midfielder Leon Goretzka and winger Serge Gnabry.
Under Fifa rules, Bayern could have faced sanctions running from fines to exclusion from competitions for depriving the national team of players.