Barcelona goalkeeper Neto caught the eye for all the wrong reasons against Alaves on Saturday. The Brazilian’s poor error gifted the hosts the lead at Mendizorrotza after a mix-up with Gerard Pique.
It was a tough moment for Neto who has been largely excellent so far for Barcelona this season. The 31-year-old has been thrust into the starting XI after Ter Stegen underwent knee surgery in August and has barely put a foot wrong.
Yet Saturday’s performance could end up being Neto’s last for a while. Ter Stegen is back in training and closing in on a first appearance of the season, and Neto’s mistake could hasten his team-mate’s return to action.
Ter Stegen is expected to be passed fit and included in the Barcelona squad for Wednesday’s Champions League tie against Dynamo Kiev at the Camp Nou, according to Javier Miguel at AS. The original plan had been for Neto to play in the match, as reward for his performances but Saturday’s “blunder could take its toll.”
Manager Ronald Koeman has a tough decision to make over his goalkeepers, particularly after a poor start that his seen his team go four games with a win in La Liga. He will surely be tempted by the thought of boosting his backline by starting Ter Stegen if the goalkeeper is fit and ready.
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Koeman Offers Ter Stegen Update
Koeman offered an update on Ter Stegen on Friday in his pre-match press conference before the draw at Alaves. The Dutch coach did not want to set a date on when the German could feature but made it clear he’s not far away.
He has been training with the group since yesterday, he is fine but he still has a bit to play. But it is not good to set a date. He needs a couple more training sessions to be physically well without problems to play.
Barcelona has three more sessions before they take on Dynamo Kiev. They will train on Monday and Tuesday and then hold a final session on the morning of the game. Ter Stegen does therefore have plenty of time to prove to Koeman he’s ready to play provided he does not suffer a setback.
Barcelona in Good UCL Shape
Koeman’s men head into Wednesday’s match after tasting more league disappointment on Saturday against Alaves. The disappointing 1-1 draw against 10-men has left the team already eight points behind leaders Real Madrid.
Yet it’s been a different story in the Champions League so far. Barca thrashed Hungarian champions Ferencvaros 5-1 in their opener and followed that up with an impressive 2-0 win over Serie A champions Juventus in Turin.
The results leave Barca top of Group G by three points ahead of their double header against Dynamo Kiev. Wins against the Ukrainian side will now be expected which would put Koeman’s men in good shape to top their group.