The world class shot stopper isn’t always associated with the legendary old guard. Recent criticizers of the German started to claim a supposed ‘decline’. After 7+ years at the club, it’s worth looking further into the ter Stegen case. Moreover, his eventual continuity at the club. Marc’s discontent at the club was no secret in his first couple of seasons at the club. Back then he was the second fiddle to Claudio Bravo. The feelings of discontent ultimately translated into healthy competition, evident in his largely phenomenal goalkeeping displays during cup tournaments. Finally, took full league responsibilities in his third season. Moreover, fans were able to rest easy knowing how unbelievably reliable and talented our keeper is. He has repaid our faith, bailing us out during poor defensive showings time and time again.
Over the past couple of seasons, fragility began to creep into his game, becoming increasingly noticeable over time. The timing of when he chooses to come off his line, his reaction speed, agility, and calmness in position are all aspects of his games that have taken a hit in recent times.
How is this evident in games?
Making acrobatic saves for tame shots on goal. Morevoer, being increasingly vulnerable to 1-on-1 situations, showing poor initial positioning. Whereas conceding goals from shots that aren’t placed into the corners. This is where that reduced reaction speed and agility is screaming. Sending long balls over the top when being pressed and misplacing short passes to his defenders are a result of nerviness that otherwise was nonexistent even 3 years ago. Is it enough to stamp this as a permanent decline?
The verdict on ter Stegen?
While all the above is true, the criticism seems to be out of proportion in recent times. Admittedly not as consistently, ter Stegen still displays unbelievable reflexes and shot-stopping abilities, more than some of the best keepers in the world. It’s far too early to pull the plug on him. We should evaluate this topic after a full season under Xavi, with the new and improved training regimes.