Ter Stegen says his time as Germany's No. 1 has finally come

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, September 7, 2023
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by Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- If anyone on the German national football team understands the challenge of persistence, it's Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Since his debut in the German shirt in 2012, the Barcelona goalkeeper has consistently challenged his biggest rival, Manuel Neuer, but has never managed to surpass the Bayern keeper.

One year ahead of Euro 2024, the 31-year-old is convinced that things have changed. The five-time La Liga champion confidently asserts that his time as the country's No. 1 has finally arrived.

Ter Stegen appeared relaxed when he faced questions at the daily press conference. Calmness surrounded him, and his responses were direct and clear.

"Things have changed," he stated ahead of the friendlies against Japan and France. "Currently, I am the No. 1, and I intend to maintain that position."

The past had been different. Since joining Barca in 2014, the goalkeeper consistently delivered impressive club seasons but often found himself on the bench in the national team.

In 2018, Neuer returned in time for the FIFA World Cup in Russia after a lengthy injury break due to a broken foot. Ter Stegen might have felt unfairly treated after a brilliant season with Barcelona.

"I am not just a replacement anymore," Ter Stegen asserted, emphasizing his seriousness.

He acknowledged that "Manuel has returned to training" after his skiing accident, expressing his happiness for Neuer and sending best wishes for a full recovery.

He promptly discussed why he remains optimistic that things will turn in his favor this time. "I have been waiting for so long. And if I perform well, there should be no doubt," he said, promising to give his all to maintain his position.

In his view, 29 club games without conceding a goal tells the story.

Despite his age advantage, the Barcelona keeper is confident that his consistent outstanding performances should be recognized.

"I don't waste energy thinking about the implications of Manuel being back in training with 10 months until the 2024 Euro kick-off," said the 34-time capped keeper.

Ter Stegen's confidence appears justified. He seems to have reached the peak of his career, and many consider him the world's best.

Furthermore, the upcoming games for the struggling German side offer an opportunity to improve under the guidance of Hansi Flick.

The under-pressure German national coach is undoubtedly pleased to have a keeper of Ter Stegen's quality while Neuer is sidelined.

Despite efforts to find a promising lineup and achieve positive results, Flick need not worry much when considering his goalkeeper. Choosing Barcelona's No. 1 over Bayern's top choice seems like a luxury problem. Enditem

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