Evian (France) (AFP) – Manuel Neuer could set a German safe hands record in Saturday’s Euro 2016 quarter-final against Italy as the world champions’ bid to add the European crown.
Neuer kept a fifth straight cleansheet for Germany in Sunday’s 3-0 last 16 win over Slovakia, which leaves Germany as the only team yet to concede in the tournament.
In the proud 108-year history of the German FA (DFB), no other goalkeeper has managed five consecutive cleansheets for die Mannschaft.
The run includes the 2-0 warm-up win at home to Hungary and four matches at the European Championships finals.
Neuer can break another German record against the Azzurri on Saturday.
Only once, at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, has Germany not conceded a goal in four games at a major tournament.
Sepp Maier hopes Germany’s star shot-stopper takes his record with another cleansheet in Bordeaux.
“I hope Manuel Neuer breaks my record. He is the best goalkeeper of his generation,” said the 72-year-old ex-Germany keeper.
Neuer will win his 70th cap in Bordeaux.
He is two matches from Jens Lehmann’s record of 681 minutes without conceding for Germany, set in 2007/08, but not for consecutive games.
Neuer has gone 450 minutes without being beaten since Eric Dier scored the 92nd-minute winner in England’s 3-2 friendly win in Berlin in March.
With Germany’s captain Bastian Schweinsteiger being eased into Euro 2016 after a knee injury, Neuer has worn the armband so far at Euro 2016.
He was again rock solid in Lille with a reflex leap to tip a header from Slovakia midfielder Juraj Kucka from six yards out over the bar.
Neuer has been Germany’s first-choice since a rib injury ruled Rene Adler out of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
– ‘Incredible personality’ –
Since then, his rivals have only enjoyed brief stints in Germany’s goal for friendlies.
“In recent years he has dominated the goalkeeper position like no one before him,” head coach Joachim Loew has said of Neuer.
“He is an incredible personality, on and off the pitch.”
At six foot, three inches (1.93cm), Neuer is an imposing presence.
But he proved he can deal with quizshow questions just as well as crosses in November 2011.
He won half a million euros for charity on a celebrity version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” on German TV .
He also voiced over a character in the German version of the Disney cartoon film ‘Monsters University’ in 2013.