Jerome Boateng and Leon Goretzka are backing goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to be fit in time for Germany's FIFA 2018 World Cup title defence.

Neuer has been sidelined since suffering his second metatarsal fracture in six months in September, but is expected to return to first-team action before the end of the current season.

"He's making good progress," said Neuer's team-mate for club and country, Boateng. "We're all hoping he comes back as quickly as possible. It doesn't look all that bad."

Goretzka, who will join Boateng and Neuer at Bayern from Schalke in the summer, added: "We all know how important a personality he is. I'm feeling pretty positive about it."

Injury has restricted Neuer to just four appearances in all competitions for Bayern so far this season. © imago

Neuer recently reiterated his plans to return to training with Bayern in April, but will have limited time to gain match practice, with the Bundesliga season set to conclude on 12 May.

The DFB Cup and UEFA Champions League finals follow on 19 and 26 May respectively, by which point Germany head coach Joachim Löw will have already named his provisional squad for the World Cup finals.

Die Mannschaft are scheduled to play friendlies against Austria and Saudi Arabia, before kicking off their title defence against Sweden on 17 June. Mexico and South Korea complete Group F.

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