Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has refused to confirm Marc Andre Ter Stegen will remain as his undisputable number one for the remaining of the season following the summer departure of Claudio Bravo to Manchester City. Meanwhile, the Spanish boss was also coy on the rest of his plans for the Champions League visit to Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday night, with Lionel Messi remaining on the side-lines along Samuel Umititi.
Luis Enrique adopted a rotation policy for his keepers during his first two campaigns at the club, with Ter Stegen being number one for the Champions League and Copa del Rey while Claudio Bravo playing in La Liga. However towards the end of last season Ter Stegen put his future at Barcelona under scrutiny after suggesting that he was not ready to share the spotlight for a third consecutive year.
Following months of speculations Barcelona decided to sort it out the situation by selling 33-year-old Bravo to Manchester City. Yet, the Catalans also brought Jasper Cillessen from Ajax to fill the gap in order to serve as a back-up for the German international.
Ter Stegen has since been the Barcelona number one both in La Liga and in the Champions League opener against Celtic, with Cillessen making only one appearance during the unexpected 2-1 defeat to Alaves because the German was injured. It looks like the German international has won the battle to be the undisputable first-choice, following the departure of Bravo – it is still uncertain whether Cillessen will have a chance to play in the Copa del Rey.
But Luis Enrique has refused to confirm this will eventually be the case during the whole season, when asked about a new potential rotation of the goalies ahead of the Wednesday encounter with Borussia Monchengladbach.
"I don't mind what you think. As happens with the outfield players keepers can play or not. The position doesn't change my idea. Everyone needs confidence and I'll decide what to do on the basis of what the team needs. What the press says won't influence me," Luis Enrique said, although suggesting the German will remain in the line-up on Wednesday night to face his former side as it will be a special game for him.
""It's no big deal. It won't change anything because a player is returning home. It'll be nice for him, but for us it will change nothing" Ter Stegen faced the challenge of coming to Barça knowing how difficult it would be and he has improved his performance and he must continue to do so, because that is the objective of any professional."
The likes of Andres Iniesta, Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba are expected to return to the line-up after they were rested during the 5-0 victory over Sporting Gijon on weekend. Yet, there is still a big uncertainty on who will fill the gap left by Messi in the attack.
Rafinha Alcantara was the chosen one against the Asturian side but Paco Alcacer is also vying for the role.
When questioned on whether the Brazilian will continue in the line-up or Alcacer will have a chance to prove his worth against Monchengladbach, Luis Enrique said: "I would like to give minutes to everyone without exception, but it will not be possible. But I have no intention of giving information to the rival manager before the game. He will see my line-up one hour before the game."
Meanwhile, the Barcelona boss has warned his side to don't take anything for granted ahead of the game, as getting the three points will be key to battle with Manchester City to top Group C.
"They are a fearsome side at home. Without the ball, they are capable of pressing a lot, they don't give away the ball easily and for this we must be well positioned," he said. "With the ball, they know what they have to do and they play well. They can hit the wings too, because they have fast players."