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Marc-Andre ter Stegen: Secret behind breaking Barcelona & La Liga records

Marc-André ter Stegen is one of the most experienced goalkeepers in LaLiga Santander, yet he continues to set new milestones even in his ninth season in Spain's top flight.

In FC Barcelona's 1-0 win away at Valencia CF a fortnight ago, the German became the first goalkeeper in the history of LaLiga Santander to keep 10 clean sheets in the first 12 matches of the season.

Four goalkeepers had previously kept nine clean sheets in their opening 12 games, the most recent being Víctor Valdés, ter Stegen's long-time predecessor at FC Barcelona, with the Catalan doing so in the 2011/12 campaign.

Earlier this season, the German set a new personal record by going 636 minutes without conceding a league goal, keeping six consecutive clean sheets between August 21st and October 14th, shutting out Real Valladolid, Sevilla FC, Cádiz CF, Elche CF, RCD Mallorca and RC Celta.

He could not keep the run going against Real Madrid, and the 3-1 defeat in ElClasico ended his hopes of surpassing Claudio Bravo's LaLiga Santander record of 722 minutes and eight clean sheets, set in the 2014/15 campaign.

Now, though, ter Stegen is on another roll and the victory against Valencia CF was his third consecutive league game without picking the ball out of the net. The 30-year-old has said that the fact he was able to have a rare summer off without an international tournament played a big role in his strong start to this season, after a difficult previous campaign.

"The summer was very good for me because I was able to relax and liberate myself from everything that was going on, above all mentally," he said. "I did almost nothing while I was on holiday and sometimes it's necessary to recharge your batteries."

Indeed, ter Stegen has looked utterly composed this season, whether it's organising his new-look defence, helping his team keep possession, mopping up balls in behind his defence or closing down strikers racing towards his goal.


Great goalkeeping across LaLiga Santander

ter Stegen's form is just one sign of the outstanding level of goalkeeping in LaLiga Santander. As well as the German's new record, Thibaut Courtois was recently awarded the Yashin Trophy for the best goalkeeper in the world last season, a recognition of his outstanding contribution to Real Madrid winning the Champions League and LaLiga Santander titles.

Across the league, goalkeepers are getting harder to beat. Just take the increasing number of penalties that have been saved this season. Of 42 penalties taken across the 12 matchdays, only 28 have landed in the net, meaning goalkeepers have managed to keep out more than a third of the total number of penalties they have faced.

Matchday 10 was especially pleasing for goalkeepers, with a total of four penalties being saved, including two in one match. In Real Valladolid vs RC Celta, Agustín Marchesín denied Sergio León from the spot, before Real Valladolid's Jordi Masip pulled off the rarest of acts to deny Iago Aspas. He actually parried from the Galician twice, thwarting the RC Celta captain at the second attempt after a re-take was ordered, rounding off a satisfying 4-1 win for the hosts.

Another penalty expert, Girona FC striker Cristhian Stuani, was denied from the spot by UD Almería's Fernando Martínez in a 3-2 defeat for his side in Matchday 10. Then, the most decisive save that round came from Sevilla FC's Bono, who made an incredible low dive to repel a penalty from Valencia CF captain José Gayà in the 102nd minute of the game to ensure it ended 1-1.

The goalkeepers of LaLiga Santander are performing at such a high level, making highlight reel saves matchday after matchday. But nobody has a better record right now than ter Stegen, with 10 clean sheets to his name and just four goals conceded in 12 rounds of action.



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