Chart-topping Marc-Andre ter Stegen enjoying best ever Barcelona season

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Marc-Andre ter Stegen returning to best form after strong Barcelona start

Barcelona might have struggled in the Champions League group stages, but they sit top of La Liga and in no small part due to Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

For two straight seasons ter Stegen was the object of scrutiny at Camp Nou as mistakes and disappointing performances added up. Since the beginning of 2022 though, an improvement in his fitness has led to a dramatic upturn and ultimately, the return of the ter Stegen that was a key part of Barcelona’s 2015 treble.

After he finally got the all clear from a knee operation, the ability to put more pressure on his right knee has evened out his technique, improving his quickness and spring. In addition to a break over the summer for the first time in several years, the German ‘keeper is back to his best.

That has played out in La Liga. Ter Stegen has kept 11 clean sheets in 13 games so far, which is not just his best start to a season but also the best start ever. That puts him top for clean sheets in the big five European Leagues and he also tops the statistics for save percentage at 89.7%. In La Liga, he ranks sixth for progressive passing distance, as per fbref.

The numbers are just part of it though. Partly due to the injury crisis in Barcelona’s defence, it has been demonstrated (especially in Europe) that the Blaugrana defence is not watertight.

Game-saving performances against Real Sociedad, Celta Vigo and Sevilla have kept Barcelona level or ahead at points where they might have been sunk.

The impact of ter Stegen’s performance can be seen in the table and via the fact that Barcelona have conceded just four goals in Spain. Ter Stegen has never won the Zamora award for the best goalkeeper but with a five-goal lead over Villarreal’s Geronimo Rulli, he is well on his way to doing so.

Source by Football Espana

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