(Goalkeeper, Borussia Monchengladbach & Germany U19)
POB:- Monchengladbach, Germany
Previous Clubs:- None
Notable Achievements:- Established himself as his club’s first choice keeper at just 18 years of age.
Anyone who has watched the Bundesliga regularly over the last eighteen months will be able to tell you that Germany’s youth squads are in the rudest of health. It seems that the school of 2008, that came to prominence so explosively in the 2010 South African World Cup is merely the start of a great avalanche of talent. Everton and Liverpool have two quality defenders on their hands in the shape of Mustafi and Sama, respectively. Whilst 1860 Munchen have a promising young marksman in the form of Kevin Volland and Wolfsburg have the gifted creative midfielder Tolga Cigerci. Joachim Low has transformed German International football by threading together a youth system that truly reflects the mixture of national identities that have made modern Germany a vibrant multicultural society.
Of the youngsters that have come through this system the most consistently impressive over the last six months has been Borussia Monchengladbach’s determined and acrobatic shot-stopper, ter Stegen. Making his full debut as recently as the 10th April, 2011, in the 5-1 annihilation of FC Koln, the 6’3 keeper has repaid the faith shown in him, by new Borussia Monchengladbach coach Lucien Favre, tenfold. With Borussia having a bit of a goalkeeper crisis (Christofer Heimeroth was in the worst form of his career and his deputy, young Belgian, Logan Bailly was only ever a few steps away from the next clanger)Favre had thrust ter Stegen right into the middle of a relegation dogfight. The fact that ter Stegen not only survived this baptism of fire, but in many minds became one of the key reasons as to why Borussia remained in the Bundesliga at the end of a hellish season, speaks volumes for the presence, organisational capabilities and supreme agility the local boy has shown since becoming Borussia first-choice keeper.
In the twelve first-team starts ter Stegen has now made for Borussia Monchengladbach he is still yet to concede more than a single goal in any individual match. Not only was he a key part of Borussia’s escape from the dropzone at the end of the 2010/11 season, but the confidence that he has given to the Monchengladbach backline, allied to his fast-improving distributional skills, has seen Borussia come out of the blocks flying this term. If not for a minor injury, suffered against Schalke 04, he would have made his U-21 debut in the coming International fixtures. Much like Spanish legend Iker Casillas, ter Stegen has shown a maturity, consistency and confidence well beyond his years. If his development continues in this manner, it is only a matter of time before the International No.1 jersey is his.