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Ter Stegen: Champions League is Barcelona's big goal & we know what we need to do to win it

6:00 PM GMT+8 01/03/2019
Marc-Andre ter Stegen Barcelona 2018-19
The German shot-stopper believes that a solid defensive foundation can help the Blaugrana secure their first European Cup since 2015

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen insists that a strong defence is the key for the club to achieve their ultimate goal of winning the Champions League this season.

The Spanish giants are currently competing at the last-16 stage of the competition and have a second leg tie against Lyon to look forward to at Camp Nou on March 13.

The two teams played out a 0-0 draw in the first leg in France, but Barca will be favourites to progress to the quarter-finals in front of their own fans.

Domestically, Ernesto Valverde's men are on course to defend their La Liga title at the moment, with Barca seven points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid.

They also have a Copa del Rey final date against Valencia to look forward to in May having defeated Real Madrid in the semi-final of the competition.

Despite their success in Spain, the Champions League is Barca's number one priority, having watched arch-rivals Real Madrid lift the famous trophy for the last three successive seasons.

Ter Stegen has admitted that European glory is driving the squad this term, while also highlighting the importance of a solid defensive line in winning the competition.

"The elimination against Rome last season was extremely bitter for us, there was certainly more possibilities for us," he told Goal and DAZN.

"[To win] the Champions League is our big goal. It's important to keep this goal in mind, but that does not mean we can neglect our homework in the league. We still have a lot of hard games to play. The advantage is comfortable, but Real and Atletico are always dangerous.

"To defend well [is the key to winning the Champions League]. We have our strengths up front and are always good for scoring goals, but, especially in the knockout phase, it is important to concede as few goals as possible.

"And of course you have to be there at the right moment. Real did not play excellently last year, but they were there when it mattered. You have to pay them respect for that."

Ter Stegen has enjoyed another strong campaign between the sticks at Barca, taking in 33 appearances across all competitions.

The 26-year-old is widely revered as one of the best goalkeepers in European football, but the coveted position of Germany's No.1 still eludes him.

Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer holds that honour and has done so since the 2010 World Cup, but Ter Stegen is still hopeful of usurping his colleague in the coming months.

"The situation [in the German national team ] is as it is," he added. "Good performances in the club are the prerequisites for being able to claim the goal of the national team.

"Regarding this, I think I am in a good position with my personality and quality. It is important that I continue to show good performances at Barca and stay fit. I want to put pressure [on Neuer].

"[Neuer and I understand] well. We talk to each other in a normal and good way, talk about game situations, give each other feedback.

"I appreciate Manu and what he did for Germany. He has played great tournaments, I have great respect for him. But that does not mean that I do not want to go into the goal. I've already said in the past, I want to make the change on the goalkeeper position. I work for that."