Barcelona are set to lose one of their key players for the coming two months, as the decision has been taken for Marc-Andre ter Stegen to undergo surgery on his back. The German international has been experiencing pain in that area for the past few weeks, and has missed Barcelona and Germany’s last five combined games.
There had been doubts about whether ter Stegen might follow a conservative treatment, and rest until the new year, but it appears the medical staff at Barcelona have gotten their wish that ter Stegen address the issue at its heart. It is predicted that his absence will keep him out for around two months, which would make him a doubt for the first leg of the Champions League knockout rounds. Sport note that the first leg will take place on the 13th, 14th, 20th or 21st of February, dates which are 10 and 11 weeks away respectively. Provided his absence is not closer to three months, it should be feasible for him to return to European action.
🚨 Ter Stegen has decided to undergo surgery. His presence for the Champions League round of 16 is in doubt. @sport 🇩🇪
— barcacentre (@barcacentre) December 5, 2023
In his stead, Barcelona must rely on 24-year-old Inaki Pena. He has only made 16 top-flight appearances during his time, but impressed recently during key games against Porto and Atletico Madrid. It appears that the Blaugrana will maintain full faith in Pena, who has wiated for his chance patiently. Nevertheless, the loss of ter Stegen as both a decisive player and a leader is a heavy blow for the Blaugrana.