A fateful liaison with injuries has seen RenAi?? Adler, the former German number oneai??i??s career to be pushed to the brink. Until a couple of seasons back Adler was backed to take up the shotstopperai??i??s job for the Mannschaft in the World Cup, following a string of humongous solo efforts in Bundesliga and the retirement of Jens Lehmann from international football. A rib injury gobbled up his chances in what turned out to be a Cinderella story for the national team in South Africa. Today, as things stand, a knee injury, which he picked up during a pre-season friendly, is proved to be potent enough to keep him out of action for the first half of the season.

Adler made his debut for Leverkusen in 2007 against then League leaders Schalke, replacing a suspended Butt and instantly earmarked his forte with a smashing outing where he made no less than ten outstanding saves. Leverkusen narrowly edged out 13 games unbeaten Schalke, thanks to Adlerai??i??s heroics and thus a star was born. Adler led the club team at all levels of competitions. The shotstopper with remarkable reflexes soon made a name for him in the continent and was courted by Manchester United to step in to the shoes of Van der Saar and even Arsenal were rumored to be interested in his services.Ai??Even Adler spoke of his ambition to play for the English giants.

He has been considered as a long term solution to Germanyai??i??s goal-keeping woes, an opportunity which he grabbed with ease. So when a match-fit Adler was overlooked by LAi??w to take part in their first international game since the World Cup, against Denmark, Leverkusen Sporting Director Voller condemned the decision of not selecting him in the squad. Last season Adler played in 32 out of the 34 games, showing that he is still robust enough to play at the top level. In recent times he had to opt out of the team, twice. The latest lengthy injury and the rise of a crop of youngsters along with the presence of Manuel Neuer does not bode well for Adlerai??i??s Germany dream in the future. Only time will tell if Adler can ever make it to the national side in the future. Let us have a look at the options Germany have ai??i?? options which may ensure that RenAi?? Adler may no longer be in the reckoning to win back his place.

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Adler - the uber talent

 

Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

Once a deputy of Adler, Neuer grabbed the opportunity to become the German number one just ahead of the World Cup, much to the dismay of Adler and since then has remained LAi??wai??i??s first choice goalie. It seems that the African safari in 2010 did a world of good to the confidence of the already established Schalke number one. Neuer has only gone from strength to strength from then on. Brilliant reflex moves, unparalleled on one-on-one situations, much improved handling and seamless judgement ai??i?? easily one of the top keepers in the world. He has also improved his ball distribution a lot. Neuerai??i??s delivery helped in setting up Germanyai??i??s first two goals against Turkey last night, helping them to win the contest 3-1 later on.

The World Cup saw his stock skyrocket and along came suitors ai??i?? most notable amongst them being Manchester United ai??i?? who were thoroughly impressed with his performances against the red devils in last yearai??i??s Champions League semi final clash where at times it turned out to be a game between Neuer vs Man United. Neuer, though, chose to stay in Germany and so far has been absolutely impregnable after the first matchday fixture, having kept a clean sheet in each of their last seven Bundesliga outings. Unless and until Neuer gets hold of Adlerai??i??s predilection to injury, it will be very difficult for not only Adler, but for any other prospective German talent to dismantle him from the top job.

Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen)

The talented Bremen keeper has it all to represent any top football playing country as their first choice keeper. Perhaps his only misfortune is that he qualifies to play for a country that not only has Neuer or Adler on the radar, but also has keepers like Weidenfeller who gets overlooked for reasons known only to LAi??w and Co. The talented keeper is a commanding figure at the back and is well known for marshaling the defense. A bit eccentric and impulsive, Wiese does have the hara-kiri skills a la Barthez as well.

The never-shy-away-from-controversy man enraged the Bayern Munich fans when he kicked MA?ller in the ribs on a one-on-one occasion and duly getting marching orders despite his side trailing 1-3 at the time. The Lehmann vs Wiese verbal altercation resulted in the former filing a lawsuit over the latter when Wiese commented on Lehmann as if Lehmann “belongs in the Muppet Show, on the couch or in a mental institution.” Tim Wieseai??i??s age does not really fall into the favored category of LAi??wai??i??s vision and thus makes him the likeliest candidate who could lose his position to Adler, or someone else.

Marc-AndrAi?? ter Stegen (Borussia MAi??nchengladbach)

The Foals were almost relegated, owing much of it to their leaky defense and eccentric goalie, Logan Bailley. They were up against an insurmountable task of staying up and staying put. New coach Lucien Favre summonedAi??MAi??nchengladbach goalie, German U-19 star ter Stegen to replace Logan Bailley and the rest is history. They managed to win three of their last four fixtures, which included incredible victories over Dortmund and Hannover to book a berth for relegation-playoff.

ter Stegen has been impressive right from the first game he played at the top flight. The game against Dortmund actually turned into a contest between Dortmund and ter Stegen with the latter prevailing after pulling of a string of spectacular saves against the Champions. Having already proved that heai??i??s no slouch under the goalpost, ter Stegen repeated his last-man-standing act against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the first game of this season as well; helping his side beat the Bavarians 1-0.

The shot-stopper has already won himself a Fritz Walter medal (Gold) in the U-19 category for his heroics in the last season. If he continues his growth at this rate, he might soon land up in the dugout of the national team, deputizing for Manuel Neuer.

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Fritz Walter medal winner, Marc-Andre ter Stegen

 

Bernd Leno (VFB Stuttgart/on loan to Bayer Leverkusen)

Another of those stars of the future of German football is relishing a breakthrough season with Leverkusen. Following the lengthy injury to Adler, Leverkusen quickly roped in this interesting prospect on loan from Stuttgart for the first half of the season. Leno started his youth career with SV Germania Bietigheim and then joined Stuttgartai??i??s youth academy at the age of 11. He came into prominence a couple of seasons back when Stuttgartai??i??s then second-choice goalie Sven Ulreich was injured and the then reserves goal-keeper Stolz had to replaced Ulreich for the senior side, making way for Leno to play for the reserves side in the third division.

From then on, the goalie impressed one and all and it was only a matter of time for him to come knocking for an opening in the senior squad. Leno has already played in German U17, U18 and U19 teams. He was in the Euro U17 Championship winning team in 2009 and played his part in helping Stuttgart win the U17 League Championship as well. After joining Leverkusen he made his Bundesliga debut this season against Bremen. After the first three games, he joined Dirk KrA?ssenberg and Heribert Macherey to become only the third goal keeper in the history of Bundesliga to have kept a clean sheet in his first three Bundesliga games.

At 19, Leno became the youngest ever German goal keeper to have played in a Champions League game when Leverkusen took on Chelsea in their opening game in the continental tournament. With Adlerai??i??s contract talks in a stand still, fully aware of the backing of Leverkusen officials, Leno has spoken his mind about his future which could see him join the national team dug out pretty soon.

I’ve read that [Stuttgart sporting director] Fredi Bobic said that I must come back. But Bayer [Leverkusen] play in the Champions League, Stuttgart don’t. I can imagine staying here.

Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96)

Ron-Robert is a young goalkeeper, who has played in the Bundesliga since the beginning of 2011. Since his first start he has had very good performances and there has been a seamless continuation of this form in the current season — German Goalkeeping coach Andreas Kopke

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Ex Manchester United rookie living his dream in Hannover

 

Zieler is presently enjoying a fantastic season with Die Roten. The Koln native joined SCB Viktoria KAi??ln as a kid and later joined Koln in 2001. After a brief stint withAi??KAi??ln, Zieler joined Manchester United as a trainee in 2005. During his stay with the English giants, Zieler mainly played with the reserves side. To get more of first team action he was also sent on loan to Northampton Town but his career never took off in England. At the end of 2009-2010 season, Zieler signed for Hannover, following a trial period. And such has been his transition following his transfer from Premier League to Bundesliga that since his debut with the senior side he was made their first-choice goal keeper, relegating Florian Fromlowitz to the bench.

Zieler has played at various youth levels for the national team, from U16 to U20. He kept goal for the German side that won the U19 Euro Championships in 2008. The burgeoning reputation of the Lower Saxony club shotstopper soon impressed Joachim LAi??w enough to earn a call-up for the national squad against Austria and Poland, ahead of Dortmund captain Roman Weidenfeller. In LAi??wai??i??s words, “The Hannover goalkeeper [Ron-Robert Zieler] is great, he’s really good and has a lot of class.” Though he is yet to make his international debut, if he continues to keep up the good work under the bar, the day is not far away for him to surpass Tim Wiese in the pecking order to deputize Neuer.

Noted Omissions: Tobias Sippel, Kevin Trapp and young sensation Loris Karius.

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