Socceroo Mat Ryan is relishing the opportunity to play against Germany’s No. 1, and the top goalkeeper in the world, Manuel Neuer on Thursday morning(AEDT).
Ryan and Neuer will meet in Kaiserslautern when Australia takes on the 2014 World Cup winners in a friendly.
The 22-year-old Australian shot-stopper, who was recently awarded as the best goalkeeper at the 2015 Asian Cup, will come up against the Bayern Munich custodian who won the Golden Glove as the best keeper in Brazil.
“For me he’s the best in the world,” Ryan told FourFourTwo.
“He’s a sweeper-keeper but every aspect of his game is phenomenal. He could be any style – he has the build to be a normal shot-stopper to stay on his line. His size is massive.
“For someone so big and massive he’s very agile and quick, it’s frightening the way he plays. I like to base my game on how he plays.”
Neuer was a key member of Germany’s World Cup-winning squad and came third in the voting for the FIFA Ballon d’Or last year.
The 28-year-old, who stands at 1.93m, has won a string of trophies at Bayern including the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup, two Bundesliga titles, two DFB-Pokal Cups and one DFB-Supercup.
Ryan, who is 1.81- tall, has been enjoying a fantastic season for club and country with Club Brugge top of the Belgian Pro League and in the Europa Cup quarterfinals. His team won the Belgium Cup on Sunday with a 2-1 defeat of Anderlecht.
Ryan and the Australian team played against Belgium and Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois in September, with the Socceroos losing 2-0 in Liege.
The former Central Coast Mariner believes it will be a similar challenge against the Germans with another top European goalie between the sticks.
“I’m still not 100% convinced Neuer will play, maybe they’ll put (Roman) Weidenfeller in goal,” he said. “Nonetheless, it’s going to be against a world-class goalkeeper and a world-class opposition.”
The Socceroos will face Die Mannschaft without the likes of Tim Cahill, Robbie Kruse and Matthew Spiranovic through injury, while Massimo Luongo is also under an injury cloud and Mark Bresciano has retired from international football.
Ryan is under no illusions how difficult the defending world champions will be on their home soil.
“It’s going to be big test for all of us,” he said.
“We’re the champions of Asia but we don’t want to stop there. We want to be competitive in the world and come up against the best and beat the best.”
Germany v Australia
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Kick-Off: 8:30pm (6:30am AEDT, Thursday March 26)