After surviving a scare to beat Algeria last night, writes Paul Watson, Germany’s players were surprised to return to base and find a three-course meal waiting for them, cooked by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer...
Neuer, who had also been on the team bus leading conversation for most of the journey back with a neatly executed series of anecdotes about a fishing trip he’d undertaken, greeted his team-mates vociferously wearing chef’s whites.
The Bayern Munich custodian had decked the tables with an impressive array of dishes, seemingly having dismissed the catering staff at Campo Bahia.
It was a gesture his compatriots were extremely touched by, only slightly marred by the fact that Neuer had also already eaten the meal he had prepared and done most of the washing up, leaving a small amount for Andre Schurrle.
“You can only be impressed,” Schurrle told FFT. “Manny’s [Manuel Neuer’s] work-rate is just phenomenal. It looks like he’s laid on a fantastic spread, which, to be honest, makes a mockery of Tim Wiese’s [trademark veal brisket].
“Obviously it might have been nice to get a few mouthfuls of [potato salad] or what looks to have been moussaka, but Manny’s clearly dealt with it well and you can’t argue with results.”
Neuer’s efforts rounded off a busy evening during which he had made several key saves, a host of timely interceptions, completed more passes than any other player and sung the national anthem as a solo, accompanying himself on the oboe.
There have been fears that Neuer may show signs of fatigue as the tournament goes on, but he will start against France and has already stressed his excitement at flying his team-mates to Rio.