Marc-Andre Ter Stegen Is Chasing A La Liga Record That Was Once Thought Untouchable
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This Marc-Andre ter Stegen attempt at a La Liga clean sheet record is starting to look serious. Ter Stegen actually has a chance of breaking Deportivo La Coruña goalkeeper Francisco Liaño's 1994 clean sheet record, when he managed to keep his goal unbeaten 26 times in one season.
Currently, Barcelona are leading La Liga with 54 points, 11 more than Atlético Madrid who sit second with 43. An important element to consider in Barcelona's outstanding performance is their defense. Out of 20 league fixtures, Ernesto Valverde's team has managed to keep a clean sheet on 13 occasions.
Alongside Atletico, Barcelona's defense is the stingiest with only nine goals conceded — an average of 0.45 per match.
Of course it's not only the goalkeeper who's in charge of defending. However, when it comes to Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, you've got to consider him the game changer.
There's no doubt that Ter Stegen is amongst the very top goalkeepers in the world. Only the likes of his German compatriot Manuel Neuer and Manchester United's David de Gea have been playing at his level over the last couple years.
Normally it's Barca's attacking line that makes all the headlines. Back in the glorious days of the MSN, Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar would be all the press talked about. With the arrivals of Ousmane Dembélé and Philippe Coutinho, it would seem like Barcelona's attack is the gravitational center of the team.
But just watch Marc-Andre ter Stegen's highlights to see how important he is for Barcelona:
1,300 abonnés !!! Merci beaucoup à vous pic.twitter.com/WZJ23GcjUG— Ter Stegen (@TerStegenFR) January 19, 2018
In a time of veritable goal-scoring machines like Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Cristiano Ronaldo — even when the latter is evidently not at his best — it looked as if Francisco Liaño's record would remain unbreakable.
However, if Ter Stegen keeps it up, he could break Francisco Liaño's 1993-94 clean sheet record in La Liga. Back then, Deportivo finished the season with a total of 26 clean sheets.
That Deportivo side finished the season tied with Barcelona on 56 points. Even though Deportivo were by far the best defensive team with only 18 goals conceded all year (Barca conceded 42 that season), Barcelona ultimately won the title as they scored a lot more (91 goals vs. Deportivo's 54) and had a better goal difference (+49 for Barcelona and +26 for Deportivo).
Barcelona is exactly halfway towards equaling that record. With a little less than half a season to be played, it looks like Ter Stegen could help Barca's defense attain the unthinkable.
If he manages to keep his goal unbeaten in 13 of the next 18 games, he will match the record. If he manages to do so in 14, he'll become a La Liga legend.