Football: Ter Stegen stuck in goalkeeper's purgatory in Germany team as Neuer is named No1

March 25, 2024
World-class in Barcelona's shirt, world-class in the Germany shirt, but still only the No.2 in the national team: Marc-Andre ter Stegen might feel stuck in endless purgatory

Berlin, March 25 (IANS) World-class in Barcelona’s shirt, world-class in the Germany shirt, but still only the No.2 in the national team: Marc-Andre ter Stegen might feel stuck in endless purgatory. Only a few days ago, the former Borussia Monchengladbach player again received a disappointing message. Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann told him that Manuel Neuer would remain as first-choice goalkeeper for UEFA Euro 2024 this summer.

Nagelsmann spoke about the conversation as one of the most unpleasant ones of his career “as he deserves to be in goal.” The 31-year-old Ter Stegen might be used to playing second fiddle, as he has faced stiff competition from Neuer for several years, with the uncomfortable fact that there can only be one goalkeeper in the team, reports Xinhua.

Months ago, the Barcelona keeper announced his breakthrough as he declared himself as Germany’s new No.1 while Neuer was sidelined for a year due to a skiing accident. Barca coach Xavi called him “one of the best in the club’s history” following his 400th club game for the Spanish side.

While Neuer’s return remained unknown, Ter Stegen might have gained ground, but when it comes to inspiring stability and confidence for a wavering Germany team ahead of the tournament on home soil, Neuer won the toss.

The opportunity came faster than expected after Neuer suffered a muscle injury ahead of friendlies against France and the Netherlands. Ter Stegen delivered a perfect performance against France and the team’s star strikers such as Kylian Mbappe, but despite this, he has seemingly not outpaced Neuer in the team’s internal ranking.

“He did a great job, outstanding. This gives us the feeling we can always rely on him as we have two world-class keepers,” Nagelsmann said, praising Ter Stegen’s performance.

Deciding in favour of Neuer is rooted in the Bayern keeper’s aura of being unbeatable. Despite the newest injury setback, Nagelsmann said to stick to his decision appointing the No.1 as “every team can benefit from two such keepers.”

The victory against France and Ter Stegen’s contribution gives proof that “we can comfortably rely on both.”

Since 2012, Ter Stegen has won 38 caps, compared to Neuer’s 117 appearances since 2009. “It’s tough what I am going through and it’s hard to understand,” Ter Stegen said a few months ago. That he is tirelessly continuing might tell the story of a great sportsman.

–IANS

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