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Are you watching Neuer? Barcelona penalty hero Ter Stegen proves he's Germany's real No.1

10:14 PM WAT 17/09/2019
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen Barcelona 2019-20
The Barca star made a fantastic penalty save from Marco Reus to send an emphatic message to his national team rival, Manuel Neuer

Manuel Neuer may have urged Marc-Andre ter Stegen to keep quiet, but the Germany No.1 can’t do anything about his Barcelona rival doing his talking on the pitch.

Ter Stegen performed brilliantly in Barcelona’s 0-0 draw with Borussia Dortmund in Germany, as the Champions League began on Tuesday.

The goalkeeper denied Marco Reus from close range in the first half and then produced an even better stop to deny his compatriot from the penalty spot after the break.

Barcelona’s captain and talisman Lionel Messi made his long-awaited return from injury, but it was Ter Stegen who took the plaudits from an engrossing battle at the Westfalenstadion.

The shot-stopper proved, in his native Germany, that it is high time the international jersey is handed over to him.

Ter Stegen, 27, has only won 22 international caps and watched his Bayern Munich rival Neuer swan back into the team for the 2018 World Cup after missing most of the season through injury.

Germany failed miserably, eliminated in the group stage for the first time since 1938, and most thought Joachim Low would give Ter Stegen a chance as he kept his job and prepared for a reshuffle.

However Neuer, who has 90 Germany caps, has featured in all five of the country’s Euro 2020 qualifying games.

Ter Stegen left the recent international break frustrated, with his sublime club form ignored yet again by Low.

Instead of sulking, the goalkeeper dug deep to maintain his excellent form with a man of the match display in Dortmund.

Barcelona’s away record in the Champions League in recent years has been notably bad.

Last season they drew at Inter and Lyon before crumbling 4-0 at Liverpool in the semi-final.

In 2017-18 they lost in Rome, where they were eliminated, drawing at Chelsea, Juventus and Olympiacos before that.

And in 2016-17 they lost against Man City in the group stage, were thrashed 4-0 by PSG in Paris and then 3-0 by Juventus in Turin.

When Nelson Semedo clumsily brought down Jadon Sancho in the area it looked like another bad result was on the cards.

But Ter Stegen kept out Reus’ spot-kick, flinging himself to his left to brilliantly parry the ball, although replays showed he was half-a-yard off the line.

As it span into the air Ter Stegen got back onto his feet and plucked it away from the onrushing hoard, pirouetting with the ball in his hands to swerve the raft of players charging at him.

It was ice-cool nonchalance from the German, who for the last three years has been a phenomenal presence at the back for the Catalans.

In the first half he positioned himself perfectly to block Reus’ strike after Thorgan Hazard teed up the playmaker.

When Ter Stegen was finally beaten, by Julian Brandt, the woodwork saved him, with the midfielder’s vicious strike cracking against the crossbar.

The goalkeeper was on hand once more to produce another excellent save to keep Reus - a good friend - at bay from point blank range in the 78th minute.

A hat-trick of stops to deny Reus and Borussia Dortmund in Germany, it was as emphatic a riposte as he could offer Neuer – and a clear message to national coach Low.