World Cup: Assistant coach Hans-Dieter Flick expects Cristiano Ronaldo to face Germany
Last Updated: 09/06/14 5:42pm
Manuel Neuer and Cristiano Ronaldo will both be on the field when Germany face Portugal on Monday, according to Germany's assistant coach Hans-Dieter Flick.
Doubts have been raised about whether the Bayern Munich goalkeeper, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, will get the chance for revenge over the Real Madrid forward who ended his team's hopes of a second straight treble last season, but Flick believes neither of them would miss such a game without a serious reason.
Ronaldo has tendinitis in his right knee and has been training only lightly of late.
"We are expecting Cristiano Ronaldo to play," Flick said at a press conference. "He's the World Footballer of the Year, he's got a great record and is a player who can decide games himself, so we are convinced he will play.
"It's a bit like with Manuel Neuer - I don't think they will do without him if he can play, and we won't do without Neuer if he's fit.
"Even without Ronaldo, we're taking Portugal very seriously as opponents, but we are confident because we know our own strengths.
"We are looking forward to this game as it's important to make a good start to such a tournament, and we want to win it."
No sooner had Germany arrived in their base for the World Cup in Santo Andre, Bahia, than they were being asked about when they will be leaving.
Inevitably, the questioning focused more on their belief that they will reach the final rather than whether they feared their stay in a purpose-built village would be brief.
General manager Oliver Bierhoff, who planned and organised the trip, was convinced.
"Of course reaching the final is realistic and, in my head, I've always planned to be away for five to six weeks," he said.
"I don't want to think of anything else - that is the way we are planning."
Bierhoff's painstaking planning also got the thumbs up from Flick, who said he and coach Joachim Low "could not have asked for more" from their base, on the Atlantic coast south of Salvador.
"We have perfect conditions here," he said. "We've got everything we need and we're really happy with what we've found here."
He is sharing a chalet with Bierhoff, Low and goalkeeper coach Andreas Kopke which, according to the former AC Milan forward, does make things logistically less challenging.
"We don't have to call and arrange to meet in some corridor somewhere - we just knock on each other's door or meet in the living room," Bierhoff said. "The fact we're all in small chalets is great, for us and the players."