Marc-André Ter Stegen confident of double success

Ter Stegen speaking to the club media / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
In an interview with the FC Barcelona media, the German goalkeeper confirms that he wants to stay at the club and looks forward to the last three games of the season

Hoping to stay

Ter Stegen joined Barça from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2014 and two years later, he’s feeling right at home in Catalonia.  He’s got the hang of Spanish and is also making good progress with his Catalan. “It’s a lovely place to live” he says. “I feel fine here and want to stay at this club, and carry on with this nice life that I have.”

He’s only 24 but Marc-André Ter Stegen already has an impressive set of medals from his time at FC Barcelona. And in the next few weeks he hopes to add two more. “We’ll see how things happen” he says in an interview with the club media. “But we have a good opportunity to win the league and the cup as well.”

“There was a time when we had nine points more than the others” he sighs. “But that’s life, that’s football, you can’t relax. We are still in a very good way. We have two matches more and every possibility to win the league … We all want to win it. We want to prepare as well as we can for these matches.”

Ready for the derby

Despite the setbacks in April, Barça are not relying on other results going their way, and so the German stopper thinks it would better for the team just to focus on its own matches. “Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid are pressing from behind and they will both fight for the title until the end. But we just have to concentrate on our own tasks.”

And the first of those tasks is Espanyol, and Ter Stegen knows that playing at home gives them a massive advantage over their local rivals. “With our fans behind us, we are much stronger” he says ahead of the last game of the season at the Camp Nou.

And with doubts over Claudio Bravo’s fitness, the German stopper is ready to step in if needed. “Me, Claudio and Jordi Masip all want to play and we work hard every week to do that” he says. “I think that’s the right idea for the team, for us all to be ready all the time.”

Barça highlights

Marc-André started out as a striker, delivering practice shots at his brother, who was a goalie. He feels that experience helped him later when he decided to follow suit and don the gloves too, and probably explains why he is so skilful with his feet. Training with the likes of Messi, Suárez, Iniesta and Neymar every day has also helped him to improve his footwork.

And finally, when asked to pick his standout moments since joining Barça, he named two. One was the first time he played at the Camp Nou and the second was his spectacular save against Lewandowski (below) in the Champions League semi-final second leg last year.

Jordi Alba says prospect of domestic double 'incredible'

Jordi Alba attends a marketing event in Barcelona on Wednesday. / VÍCTOR SALGADO-FCB
The blaugrana full-back speaks freely about the team at a promotional event on Wednesday morning

With FC Barcelona‘s penultimate game of the league season — a must-win derby versus Espanyol at Camp Nou — just four days away, starting full-back Jordi Alba said the team was very confident in their chances to win both La Liga and the Copa del Rey.

“We’re alive in the two competitions and winning both titles would make an incredible season,” he said. “We had a very big lead in the league standings but we never said we had already won it.”

Despite seeing their nine-point lead whittled down to a slim advantage based solely on a tiebreaker, the Catalans still control their own destiny. “We cannot fail to win the league,” Alba said while appearing at a promotional event held in Barcelona on Wednesday.

Alba also talked about Sunday’s big derby against Espanyol. “Derbies are always intense and, against Espanyol and Granada, will are basically playing two finals,” he said, while stressing the importance of playing in front of a packed house in Barça’s final home game this weekend: “The fans are always with us and we notice when the stadium is full.”


Alba said that Espanyol, despite being virtually assured a slot in the First Division next season, “will come in with the same hunger to try and beat us, and we will have to play well.”

“It will be very difficult to beat them,” he said.

Asked about Atletico Madrid‘s berth in the UEFA Champions League final, Alba congratulated them on getting there. “I congratulated some national team mates. They’re a team where everyone works together and it’s admirable.”

We have to play well because beating Espanyol will be tough.

Derby preparations continue at the Ciutat Esportiva

Gerard Piqué trains Wednesday, with Luis Suárez (left) looking on. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Team trains Wednesday in Sant Joan Despí just days away from the most decisive league derby in years

Sunday’s decisive derby is now just four days away.

FC Barcelona host cross town rivals RCD Espanyol at Camp Nou on Sunday afternoon at 5.00pm CET with the sole aim of bagging three more points, which will bring the Catalans to the brink of a new La Liga title.

To get ready for this weekend’s intra-city clash, Barça worked out Wednesday morning on Tito Vilanova Field at the Ciutat Esportiva. All available first team players took part in the session, plus Juan Cámara from Barça B.

The team will have a rest day on Thursday before coming back to work on Friday to begin finalising their preparations for Sunday.

Camp Nou to display special mosaic at Sunday's derby

This is how the mosaic will appear before kick-off. / FCB
Some 90,000 cards will be held aloft to motivate the players and fans prior to this weekend’s decisive La Liga clash

A spectacular 90,000-card mosaic with the slogan ‘Let’s all get going!’ is set to be formed at Camp Nou on Sunday afternoon as a way to get the fans excited and the players motivated for the final home game of season, a must-win derby versus cross-town rivals RCD Espanyol with major title implications.

FC Barcelona could be mathematically proclaimed the La Liga champions this Sunday, depending on the results of Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid, which are in second and third place, respectively. A single point separates all three teams, with Barça in first place according to all tie-breaking scenarios. All league games this Sunday are being played simultaneously at 5.00pm CET.

BUY TICKETS FC Barcelona – Espanyol

Tribute to Manel Vich

Prior to the derby the Barça world will also pay tribute to the recently passed away Manel Vich, who was the Camp Nou public address announcer for nearly 60 years and who had come to be an institutional legend in of himself. In memory of Vich’s unforgettable baritone voice, which greeted generations of fans at Camp Nou, the Club’s Board of Directors has agreed to play his traditional catch-phrase — “Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the Stadium” — over the PA system. Afterwards, though, the starting line-ups and subsequent substitutions will made in silence, appearing only on the video scoreboard. Prior to kick-off, Vich will be memorialised with a moment of silence. Vich’s family will be in attendance Sunday in the Josep Suñol Presidential Box.

The three derbies against Espanyol by the numbers

Barça beat Espanyol 4-1 in the Copa del Rey match at the Camp Nou / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Following two wins in the cup and a 0-0 draw in the league, on Sunday FC Barcelona meet their local rivals for the fourth time in the 2015/16 season

FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol will face each at the Camp Nou on Sunday in the second-to-last game of the Liga season. It’s their fourth encounter of the campaign , after they met in the Copa de Rey (with Barça progressing en route to the final) and in a 0-0 draw at the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat in La Liga.

Here we take a look at the stats from the three meetings between the teams that have already happened in 2016:

– Luis Enrique used no fewer than twenty different players in the three clashes: Goalkeepers Claudio Bravo and Marc-André Ter Stegen, and outfield players Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Jordi Alba, Iniesta, Rakitic, Sergio, Messi, Suárez, Neymar, Sergi Roberto, Arda Turan, Aleix Vidal, Mathieu, Vermaelen, Adriano, Bartra and Munir.

– Barça completed 85% of their passes (85.1%, 89.2% and 86.9%). Javier Mascherano tops the individual list with 179 out of 193 (92.7%), followed by Alves (151 out of 172) and Iniesta (134 out of 145), the latter achieving those impressive stats in just two games. 

Good and bad passes by Mascherano (click photos to enlarge)
COPA (2)

– Only Barça’s two Argentinians Mascherano and Messi played all ninety minutes of the three games with the local rivals.

Messi and Munir lead Barça’s scoring against the ‘parakeets’ with two each. The former scored twice in the Copa del Rey first leg, and the latter did likewise in the return.

– One of Messi’s goals was a an absolute peach of a free kick to break the 1-1 deadlock at the Camp Nou

Messi leads in assists – three of the six goals against the blue-and-whites came off one of his passes. Iniesta and Aleix Vidal set up two of the other three.

Marc-André Ter Stegen, who played the two cup matches, won the most balls, 16 (5 in the first leg and 11 in the second). He is followed by Alves (15) and Iniesta (14).

– The German stopper made four huge saves in the second leg, which meant it was a comfortable ride after winning the first leg 4-1. His clean sheet was emulated by Bravo in the league fixture.

– There were 76,667 spectators at the Camp Nou for the FC Barcelona v Espanyol cup match on January 6, which is a national holiday (King’s Day) in Spain.

– Barça dominated possession in all three games. (72.1% and 76% in the Copa del Rey matches and 67.9% when they met in the league at Cornellà.

Liga, RCD Espanyol – FC Barcelona (0-0)

Copa, 1st Leg, FC Barcelona – RCD Espanyol (4-1)

Copa, 2nd Leg, RCD Espanyol – FC Barcelona (0-2)

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