Sunday Observer - - SPORT - AFP

BER­LIN- Bay­ern Mu­nich and Ger­many goal­keeper Manuel Neuer said yes­ter­day he could now be side­lined un­til March be­cause he is tak­ing longer than ex­pected to re­cover from a foot op­er­a­tion.

Neuer was ini­tially ex­pect­ing to re­turn in Jan­uary, but he told the club's TV sta­tion:

"The wound in the foot is heal­ing and it could take up to six months.

"It al­ways de­pends on the heal­ing process of course," he added.

Neuer, 31, said how­ever his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion was go­ing well "and I'm very pos­i­tive and I think it's go­ing to get bet­ter".

He frac­tured his left foot in train­ing in Septem­ber, just weeks af­ter re­turn­ing to ac­tion fol­low­ing a frac­ture of the same foot in April dur­ing the Cham­pi­ons League quar­ter­fi­nal against Real Madrid.

The pro­longed ab­sence of Neuer, the club's cap­tain, is an­other set­back for Bay­ern who on Fri­day an­nounced vet­eran coach Jupp Heynckes was re­turn- ing to the club for a fourth stint to steady the ship fol­low­ing the sack­ing of Carlo Ancelotti.

The Ital­ian parted com­pany with the Bavar­ian giants af­ter a 3-0 de­feat to Paris Saint-Ger­main in the Cham­pi­ons League com­pounded a stut­ter­ing start to the Bun­desliga cam­paign.

Ger­many coach Joachim Loew said he was con­fi­dent Neuer would be fit in time for next year's World Cup in Russia.

Bay­ern Mu­nich and Ger­many goal­keeper Manuel Neuer.

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