Neuer relishing Turkey tussle
Now, just two years on and with the teams due to meet again in Group A of EURO 2012 qualifying, the Schalke captain is his country's newly-established first-choice goalkeeper. Neuer was the man between the posts during Germany's impressive FIFA World Cup™ showing, but only due to an injury suffered by Rene Adler.
Now coach Joachim Low has anointed Neuer as his number one for the qualifying campaign. That means he can prepare for tomorrow night's clash in Berlin in the knowledge he will be sent into action ahead of Adler, a far cry from the 3-2 last-four victory in Basle.
"I was in Croatia then, in Dubrovnik on holiday," said Neuer, 24. "Of course I saw the game on TV. It was really exciting and offered a lot of goals. I was very excited when Philipp Lahm made it 3-2."
Now he has much more than a watching brief, though. He said: "I now know where I am. This [being number one] is similar to having the captain's armband at Schalke. It's nice to have them, but I am what I am and my performance is not dependent on the announcement of who is in the German goal. I focus on my job and my current focus is now on the game against Turkey."
Germany and Turkey each have six points from six in qualifying so far and Neuer accepts their first head-to-head in the group represents a big chance to establish dominance. "Both teams started out perfectly in the European Championship qualifiers," Neuer said. "Therefore, the direct confrontation is a key game. The Turks are a serious opponent - we have to be at 100 per cent of our power if we want to beat them."
Elsewhere in the group, Belgium will be expecting to register their first points of the campaign against Kazakhstan in Astana. Arsenal centre-half Thomas Vermaelen and Manchester City's Vincent Kompany are missing, leaving coach Georges Leekens bemoaning: "It's a pity, as they had taken on leadership roles and brought a good atmosphere to the team."
Kompany's City team-mate Dedryck Boyata could be given the nod at centre-half instead, while Yassine El Ghanassy could replace the absent Moussa Dembele. Austria welcome Azerbaijan in the remaining match, with the hosts looking to break into the top two and the visitors, led by Berti Vogts, seeking to bounce back from a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of his native Germany.