June 2, 2013 is likely to be a day in Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s football career that the goalkeeper remembers only reluctantly. In the friendly match against the USA in Washington, the then Borussia Mönchengladbach goalkeeper made a huge mistake that will haunt him for a long time.
When Benedikt Howedes played a back pass to Ter Stegen in the 16th minute, the young goalkeeper hesitated too long and let the ball go past his right foot into his own net. This scene worried the 21-year-old so much that he was not entirely innocent of the other three goals scored in the match, which ended in a 3-4 defeat for the German team.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a huge mistake against the United States ten years ago
It was especially bitter for the young goalkeeper: after three matches with the senior national team, he had already had to make a total of twelve saves. As a result, Ter Stegen’s future in the DFB squad has been widely discussed and questioned.
But assistant coach Andreas Koepke jumped to his protégé’s side after the defeat to the United States: “We will not give up on a young goalkeeper with such potential,” declared the 1996 European champion. Koepke was right in his approach.
Ter Stegen: Ten years after Patzer number one
Ten years later, Ter Stegen traveled to the United States again with the national team, but this time under completely different circumstances.
On the one hand, Joachim Low only had a skeleton available in 2013 in the absence of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund stars and their partners, while newly appointed national coach Julian Nagelsmann will have full resources in 2023.
On the other hand, Hansi Flick promoted the Spanish FC Barcelona goalkeeper to the first position in Germany’s goalkeeper in the absence of the injured Manuel Neuer. Although Flick was forced to vacate his position in September, Nagelsmann announced in his first appearance that he would initially continue to rely on Ter Stegen.
However, the former Bayern coach did not want to say who will be among the roster when Neuer is fit again. “The most important thing is to give Manu the time he needs to get healthy again and reach 100% performance. If the situation arises, we will evaluate it,” the 36-year-old explained.
Neuer is still working on his comeback after suffering a fracture in his lower leg last winter. The Bayern goalkeeper could return to international action in November.
A confident declaration for Neuer
In recent years, Ter Stegen has always had to be content with a backup role behind Neuer, regardless of whether he is able to convince in his absence. So the 31-year-old was only left on the bench when Neuer returned to the field shortly before the start of the 2018 World Cup after a month-long injury break.
Now, and not only Ter Stegen realizes it, the situation has changed. “I am number one at the moment. I have been waiting for this moment for a long time. I will do everything in my power to maintain this situation,” the FC Barcelona goalkeeper explained at the beginning of September.
Confident words that are in no way exaggerated. Finally, after initial difficulties at the start, the German established himself as the Catalan team’s goalkeeper and reliable support with strong and consistent performances.
Ter Stegen has even been vice-captain of the Blaugrana since the current season and only signed a new working paper until 2028 in August.
At the peak of his career?
The statistics also speak for the Bas-Rhine goalkeeper: last season, Ter Stegen kept clean sheets in 26 out of 38 matches, setting a La Liga record. With that in mind, is the goalkeeper currently experiencing the best phase of his career?
It is no surprise that Ter Stegen is considered a hot contender for the World Goalkeeper of the Year award. But the successful goalkeeper reveals himself in the interview sky Modestly: “We will see. The decision is made globally. Others also have very great opportunities. Ederson has collected a lot of titles, so he is probably the favourite.”
Whatever the choice in the end, Ter Stegen is already one of FC Barcelona’s greats. With 388 appearances, he has now played the third most competitive games of any goalkeeper in the history of the traditional Spanish club.
“I have gained a lot of experience in the last few years, whether it is in the German Football Association or at Barcelona. I can pass that on to the team and my teammates,” the goalkeeper said, describing one of his strengths.
Major European Championship? “I will do everything for this”
This is also why Ter Stegen plans to appear in a national team shirt, regardless of Manuel Neuer’s return. “I don’t make my achievements dependent on others. Over the past few years, I have always performed at a very high level. This is also my own claim,” the 36-time national player explained.
And in the “here and now” he has “the support of the team and the coach. I think I totally repay that as well. That’s what I focus on.”
Ideally, Ter Stegen also wants to be part of the German Football Association’s squad for next year’s domestic European Championship. “This is one of the biggest events you can hold in your country. I will do everything to ensure that I am in the best condition for the tournament. Until then, I want to perform well,” he promised.
Ter Stegen will have the opportunity to do just that on Saturday in the international match in Hartford. Then – as was the case ten years ago – he will face the United States, against whom the goalkeeper still has a score to settle anyway.
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