Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen says former team-mate Paco Alcacer was always good enough to succeed at the top level – but hopes he can give the scoring a rest when Barca travel to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night.
The Spanish forward spent two largely disappointing seasons at Camp Nou before joining Dortmund last season, and he has hardly looked back since.
With 26 goals in 38 appearances – including seven in six this season – Alcacer has more than rediscovered the form which convinced Luis Enrique to sign him from Valencia back in 2016.
“Nothing has changed, this is his level,” Ter Stegen said. “He went to Dortmund to play more minutes and it was a good decision, they’re a great club and he has taken the perfect step.
“He is phenomenal and he’s scoring goals. I hope it continues for him, although maybe tomorrow he can stop for a moment!”
He is also closely acquainted with Dortmund boss Lucien Favre. It was during Favre’s tenure at Gladbach that Ter Stegen established himself in the first team, eventually going on to make his Germany debut while under his management.
“We know each other quite well. He is the one who picked me and I know he has many qualities, but we are well prepared," the goalkeeper said.
"He is one of the best coaches I’ve had in my life and he will surely think of something that could harm us, but we will try to avoid it.
“We don’t have to explain anything to my team-mates, we know how hard the game will be. It is a spectacular stadium and the fans are crazy about the club but we are professionals and we will give everything.
“We will try not to let it influence us no matter how difficult it is. Those who don’t know the stadium will have goosebumps, it’s a unique stadium.”
“There isn’t any added pressure, it’s the Champions League and the level is always very high,” he added. “We always go out thinking about winning. We don’t forget what happened but we try to learn from it, what we failed at.
“At this club we know we have to fight for everything, and we will give everything to go as far as we can. Last year the end of the season was spoiled by the defeat at Anfield but we have to continue doing our best. We have the tools to be successful.
“It’s our goal to win it and we know that we failed at a key moment. There was little left to end the season and everybody was ready for it to end.”