Marc-Andre Ter Stegen can be Barcelona’s Manuel Neuer

Marc-André ter Stegen has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. After conceding a goal from the half line during the Super Cup against Athletic Bilbao, he was the victim of Florenzi’s long range goal from around 60 metres. So what is actually going wrong? Is it his fault or the result of the team tactics?

During the course of the 2013-14 season, a young German keeper from Borussia Mönchengladbach was being constantly linked to Barca. Ter Stegen was being hailed as the successor to the legendary Victor Valdes. It was reported that he had started taking Spanish lessons and a transfer was imminent. However Valdes renewed his contract for another year and the talks broke down.

The next year Barcelona did some wonderful business and signed ter Stegen for around €12 million. People were very excited with his arrival. However, an injury at the beginning of the season forced him to watch Bravo become the first choice keeper in La Liga. Stegen had Enrique’s backing however, and became Barca’s keeper in Champions League and Copa Del Rey matches, winning both the cups and playing a pivotal role in the tournaments.

Ter Stegen is very much the modern day goalie. Playing as a sweeper keeper, he initiates attacks from the back and is not afraid to charge down the pitch to intercept any danger and nip it in the bud. Who can forget the double save against Bayern in the semi finals or the penalty he saved against Aguero? He was as much important for Barcelona as any other player and its natural for people to have high hopes for the young German going into this campaign.

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But is Ter Stegen responsible for the goals he has recently conceded from long range? It is well known he is a big fan of Neuer who at times during the match can be found standing on the halfway line playing the role of the sweeper keeper. But, in fact, Neuer conceded many similar goals early in his career. 
With time, Neuer has mastered the art and others are following suit. Same with ter Stegen. Oliver Kahn has said that it was not the Stegen’s fault and that the coach must motivate him to continue playing the way he feels is the best. Pique added that the credit for the goal vs. Roma must go to Florenzi and said Stegen was not to be blamed and instead he should be thanked for providing extra back-up to the centre backs.

Whatever be the reasons for those goals, it is expected Luis Enrique and his team will study and sort it out. Still, ter Stegen has to be more commanding at the back and keep up his exceptional ball distribution. 

For a keeper to be praised by the best of the last decade (Oliver Kahn) and the present decade (Manuel Neuer), he ought to be special. It’s expected that ter Stegen will be the undisputed starter in all competition in the next couple of years. He must be ready for that moment and deliver on his potential.

By Abhishek Das, columnist at Barcablog. Follow him on Twitter here.

Have Your Say

Should ter Stegen continue with his unique style of goalkeeping? Do you trust him to stay ahead of Claudio Bravo after the Chilean returns?