Neuer set to make Bayern return at Hertha Berlin

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Manuel Neuer is expected to return from his seven-match injury absence for Bayern Munich's trip to Hertha Berlin on Saturday, according to Julian Nagelsmann.

A shoulder injury has kept Neuer sidelined since Bayern's dramatic 2-2 draw with Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund last month, causing concern for both club and country.

While the goalkeeper's absence led to speculation he could miss Germany's World Cup opener against Japan on November 23, Nagelsmann repeatedly dismissed those concerns while urging caution over his return.

That approach looks to have paid off, with Nagelsmann revealing on Friday that Neuer was likely to replace Sven Ulreich between the sticks in the German capital.

"If the final training session goes well, Manu will come along and also play," he said at a pre-match news conference. "I assume it will, but we'll see how the shoulder reacts. This week went well.

"We didn't consciously wait longer, we just waited until he was pain-free. When you start again after an injury, there is always some risk, but I don't calculate that, it's the doctors.

"If they give the clearance, [the risk] is obviously so small so that he can play, but anything can happen when you have a bruised shoulder. Football is a contact sport, so you can never rule everything out."

While Neuer's return is a huge boost for Bayern – who are one point adrift of surprise Bundesliga leaders Union Berlin, they will be without Thomas Muller and Matthijs de Ligt at the Olympiastadion.

"Thomas and Matthijs are still out. Matthijs' knee reacted again, so we could not increase [his workload]," Nagelsmann added.

"It was originally the idea [for De Ligt to return], but unfortunately it doesn't work. That's why he won't be flying to Berlin, the same with Thomas. The plan is for them to come back during the week."

Bayern finished their Champions League group-stage campaign with maximum points by beating Inter 2-0 last time out, becoming the first side to achieve that feat in consecutive seasons.

That means Bayern will be paired with one of Liverpool, Club Brugge, Milan or Paris Saint-Germain in Monday's last-16 draw, and Nagelsmann believes none of those sides will want to face them.

Asked about the prospect of meeting Liverpool, he said: "There are easier draws, but you can also turn the tables. There aren't too many teams who want to play against us.

"It's all very hypothetical, the next Champions League game is in a few months. The current form of Liverpool, or us, or Milan, or PSG or Brugge is not decisive.

"Until then, a lot will happen. I also read all of this, I know who our potential opponents are and I have an opinion on all of them. But I'm not making the choice, so we'll wait and see."