We’ve always known just what an asset Marc-Andre ter Stegen is for Barca, but it was never better evidenced than with his performance against Dynamo Kiev.
The German, just back from three months out injured, ended up with a busier night than surely he’d contemplated as, time and again the visitors were allowed to break en-masse and descend on his goal.
Yes, we could’ve scored a number of goals of our own if it wasn’t for another magnificent performance at the other end from 18-year-old Neshcheret, but it was hugely embarrassing that Ter Stegen was called upon at all.
After all, Dynamo had nine players out with coronavirus symptoms and three more with injuries. Until Gerard Pique’s late intervention, it appeared that this game could’ve swung either way.
The blaugranes clearly like to play the high line, but if there’s no pace in defence, what’s the point of doing so, as you are going to get marooned upfield time and again.
With the greatest of respect to Neto, what a relief that we have MAtS back at just the right moment.
Barca clearly are struggling in all facets, so to have a keeper on top of his game and pulling out all of the stops so soon after returning has to be good news.
The issue for Ronald Koeman of course is, on that display, particularly if he wants to win trophies, can he afford to keep players in the team - we all know who they are - that are an utter liability.
The Dutchman can’t rely on Ter Stegen every single week to get them out of a hole, and there’s even been suggestions in the media that the club may try and sell him to Bayern Munich in January in order to bank funds that they clearly don’t yet have at this point in time.
The performance that the money men at the Camp Nou have just witnessed will hopefully raise them from whatever slumber it is they’re in, and ensure they rebuff any and all offers for their custodian.
As important as Messi is up front for Barca, Ter Stegen is as the last line of defence. Yes, he’s that good.
To think that the Catalans acquired him for only €12m has to go down as one of the football bargains of the century.
And rather than sell him for a quick profit now, Barca will do well just to allow him to settle back in the role he knows so well.
They need him. They really need him.