Friday’s Champions League quarterfinal between FC Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon will see Germany goalkeepers Manuel Neuer and Marc-André ter Stegen face off. Germany goalkeeping coach Andreas Köpke spoke to DFB.de about both ‘keepers importance for their respective sides.
DFB.de: Mr Köpke, everybody is looking forward to the Champions League quarterfinal between Bayern and Barca on Friday night. Are you as well?
Andreas Köpke: Of course. Both of these teams could have been expected to make the final. The fact that our two best German goalkeepers will face off adds another dimension to it. Both Manuel Neuer and Marc-André ter Stegen will play a key role in the result. You need an in-form goalkeeper to be able to win the Champions League.
DFB.de: Will we be watching the two best goalkeepers in the world on Friday?
Köpke: They are both definitely part of a very exclusive group. At the moment, Jan Oblak from Atlético Madrid and Alisson Becker from Liverpool are also right up there. We can just be pleased that we have two amazing goalkeepers for the national side, even if we can’t give them both a fair amount of game time.
DFB.de: What are the similarities and differences between Neuer and ter Stegen?
Köpke: Both of them get involved with their team’s play. They both have to play with their feet a lot, although Manuel statistically has more touches than Marc. They are both important support players for their teams, especially for starting off moves as well. They can also both play accurate long balls to the midfield. Both have exceptional reflexes and can save shots from the closest of ranges. Marc often kept Barcelona in games this season, even if they couldn’t win the league in the end. Neither of them makes many mistakes, which is why they are two of the best goalkeepers in the world.
DFB.de: Peter Schmeichel recently criticised Manuel Neuer. What did you think about Chelsea’s goal?
Köpke: We shouldn’t get carried away just because an ex-goalkeeper has said something. The ball wasn’t as easy to deal with as it has been made out. Everyone would be praising Manuel if a Bayern defender was there and had cleared the ball.
DFB.de: Do goalkeepers miss the fans in the stadium?
Köpke: Almost more than the outfield players. The fans are always right behind you as a goalkeeper. Sometimes you get abuse, sometimes they cheer you on. I think us goalkeepers actually do miss the fans more than anyone else.
DFB.de: The battle between the goalkeepers will be a topic for the media. Will that be on both players’ minds?
Köpke: I’m certain that it won’t be. In a game like this, you’re not thinking about who is in the other goal. They will both be focusing on their own performances. I personally hope that they both put in a world-class display, and then we’ll have to see who makes it through.
DFB.de: How are Neuer and ter Stegen on international duty with regard to the competition between them?
Köpke: Manuel and Marc have a professional relationship on international duty. They sit together and have a coffee. It’s totally understandable that Marc would like to play and that he has expressed his desire to do so. Even when he said this publically, there was never an argument between them. National coach Joachim Löw and I have never needed to get involved. They both deal with the situation professionally. It’s a tough situation for Marc. He plays for Barcelona, is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, yet doesn’t play for his national team. His time will come.