BERLIN (AP) — Not everyone is happy that former first-choice Germany goalkeeper Rene Adler will complete his comeback after more than two years out by lining up against France on Wednesday.
Adler will start the friendly game in Paris in place of current No. 1 Manuel Neuer after Germany coach Joachim Loew decided to reward the 28-year-old Adler for his impressive performances for Hamburger SV this season.
Despite Loew's indication that Neuer would be back for Germany's World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan in March, the Bayern Munich goalkeeper grumbled about making way. "It's an important game for us, I would have liked to play. I'm happy to sit on the bench, but at the right time," Neuer said.
Adler, who last played for Germany on Nov. 17, 2010, said he's only concentrating on enjoying the game and "anything after that is pushed out of my head." Adler was forced out of the 2010 World Cup with a rib injury and missed last season following right knee surgery, but has shown he is back to his best since joining Hamburg from Bayer Leverkusen last summer.
"I don't see it as a chance to take the No. 1 slot, but as a reward for my hard work. I'm pretty relaxed after my long injury layoff. If I get the chance to play I'll enjoy it. I won't treat it any differently to a Hamburg game," Adler told Monday's news conference in Frankfurt.
"I'm happy to be back among the best German players. It's a sensational experience because I know how quickly things can change again." Adler expressed sympathy for former Germany 'keeper Tim Wiese, who lined up against France in a friendly last February, but was dropped by club Hoffenheim last week.
"I hope Tim can come out of it again," he said. Germany manager Oliver Bierhoff said Neuer's reaction was perfectly normal. "I'd be worried if it was all the same to a player whether he played or not. We want players fighting for places," Bierhoff said.
Germany has not beaten France since 1987, when Rudi Voeller scored both goals in a 2-1 win, with Eric Cantona scoring for the visitors, and Bierhoff said a win in Paris would provide "a good morale boost."
Borussia Dortmund players Marcel Schmelzer, Mario Goetze and Marco Reus all dropped out through illness or injury on Monday, joining Bayern midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger who pulled with an ankle injury the day before.