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Jens Lehmann criticizes ter Stegen: “If I lose 4-0 to Liverpool, I cannot make claims”

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The former Germany keeper weighed in on the Manuel Neuer-MAtS debate with all the subtlety of a bazooka.

Liverpool v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second Leg Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Ever since Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen revealed that he was dissatisfied with his situation on the national team, the debate around Germany’s keeper position has exploded like never before. Bayern Munich and die Mannschaft captain Manuel Neuer already said his piece following his team’s draw against RB Leipzig, but now Jens Lehmann has stepped into the debate.

The former Germany and Arsenal goalkeeper actually congratulated MAtS on his ambition (via sportbuzzer): “I actually think it’s really good that he said that,” Lehmann said, noting particularly that Ter Stegen said “nothing against Manuel Neuer.” Lehmann concluded, “It was very neat, everything he said.”

However, Lehamann reiterated that Manuel Neuer remains the better player, and warned ter Stegen against overconfidence:

Manuel is better, he is complete. If I lose 4-0 against Liverpool, I can’t really make any claims.

This of course refers to Barcelona’s humiliating 4-0 collapse at Anfield in the Champions League last season, where the Reds overcame a 3-0 deficit from the first leg in outstanding fashion. Ter Stegen was a part of that debacle, but it is difficult to see exactly the point Lehmann is trying to make — it’s not as if Ter Stegen was personally responsible for all of the goals. Neuer himself conceded 3 goals to Liverpool in the same season, and was personally at fault for one of them. (Then again, he never conceded 3 goals to AS Roma either, so ...)

In any case, it’s probably best to disregard the jab and focus on Lehmann’s advice for Germany’s understudy:

I didn’t arrive [i.e. as a starter] at the national team until the age of 27. He still has time.

Jens himself was behind Oliver Kahn in the pecking order for a long time. The fact is that MAtS is still young (by goalkeeper standards), and has plenty of time left to make a name for himself. Perhaps Jogi Löw could work something out for the two.