Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has admitted that it is unlikely he will be included in Joachim Löw's World Cup squad this summer after spending the last eight months on the treatment table.
The 32-year-old suffered a metatarsal injury after matchday four earlier this campaign, with the Bavarians' back up Sven Ulreich deputising in between the sticks under both Carlo Ancelotti and Jupp Heynckes.
But with Neuer now in the final stages of his recovery, the Germany international has claimed that his lack of game time will likely give Marc-André ter Stegen a chance to impress as Die Mannschaft's number one this summer.
"I do not think it's imaginable that I go into such a tournament without match practice," Neuer told TZ ahead of Bayern's last game of the season.
But manager Heynckes has ruled out a return to Bayern Munich's first team this weekend, telling German publication Kicker that Neuer will not feature against Stuttgart this weekend, as well as in the DFB-Pokal final against Eintracht Frankfurt later this month.
Neuer has not only dropped down the rankings with his national team due to his injury, but there is now a widespread belief that Manchester United star David De Gea has overtaken the German as the best goalkeeper in the world.
The tournament in Russia this summer would have likely been Neuer's last chance to play in a major competition for his country.
However, one silver lining is that the former Schalke star's self-proclaimed belief that he won't be at the World Cup this summer will offer some of Germany's wide array of goalkeeping talents a chance to step up.