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FC Barcelona’s Marc-André ter Stegen finally gets his Germany chance

The star goalkeeper has filled in for Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer before. This time has a different feel to it.

CA Osasuna v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Bayern Munich keeper Manuel Neuer is still out of commission for club and country, and though his injury return date is nearing, he is still out of the picture for Germany for the September international break.

That leaves his long-time understudy, FC Barcelona star Marc-André ter Stegen, as top choice for Germany coach Hansi Flick. At long last.

“I am the number one. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, and now I want to seize the opportunity. I’ll do everything to keep it that way,” Ter Stegen reflected in comments captured via @iMiaSanMia. “I don’t know which phase of rehab Manu is at. I saw he was back on the pitch, which made me very happy. After such a serious injury, the most important thing is that he gets back on the pitch. I hope he’ll enjoy football again. I cannot influence these topics. I cannot and do not want to waste any energy on that. I can’t tell the coach what to do. My focus is on what I can show in the next two games.”

Ter Stegen will get his chance to cement his place — and continue developing rapport with his national team teammates — in the two friendlies against Japan and France this month.

But the last time Ter Stegen was poised to start a major tournament, the 2018 FIFA Men’s World Cup, Neuer made his injury return just in time.

“I’d be lying if I said I don’t remember the World Cup, but I think the situation is different now,” Ter Stegen continued. “In 2017, Manu was the clear number one. I had shown my performances and had the hope that I would be in goal at the World Cup. That wasn’t the case. It was the coach’s decision. The situation has now changed. Now I can play my games.”

Will this finally be the beginning of Ter Stegen becoming more than a fill-in for Neuer?

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