Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen hopes he can impress in the Champions League against Bayer Leverkusen and keep the pressure on Claudio Bravo for domestic selection.
Bravo is Luis Enrique’s first-choice goalkeeper in La Liga, while Ter Stegen has been used in Europe and the Copa del Rey since arriving from Borussia Monchengladbach last year.
Ter Stegen made a handful of league appearances this term while Bravo was injured and hopes to make the most of a rare start at the BayArena on Wednesday.
“It’s not always easy but I don’t feel I lack rhythm. We play a lot of midweek games,” he told reporters.
“Last week I couldn’t play in the Copa del Rey due to injury but I’m always very happy when I do play. I focus on what I can do and do my work properly.
“Then hopefully with my performances I can make it harder for the boss to make his decisions. I want to play as much as possible but ultimately it’s the coach’s decision as to who plays.
“I never know if I play or not but if I do then I want to play as best I can.”
Barca have already secured top spot in Group E, while Leverkusen need to win to stand a chance of progressing to the knockout stages.
Ter Stegen’s last visit to the BayArena resulted in a 4-2 defeat with Gladbach while he also featured in Barca’s 2-1 win in September as Leverkusen led early on before late goals from Sergi Roberto and Luis Suarez.
“Leverkusen are always a dangerous team, I remember that when playing for Gladbach and we also saw that earlier this season,” he added.
“But this is a new game, I understand they have a full strength team but we’re top of the group, deservedly so, and we need to show we’re a deserved group winner by deploying our best football.
“You always have to be careful, they put a lot of pressure up front. They created pressure at stages at the Camp Nou.
“They’re going to try everything they can but we have the arguments to counter them.”