Last night, FC Barcelona picked up a crucial 2-1 win over FC Porto, in the process booking their place in the knockout stages of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League.
Joao Cancelo stole the show with his performance on the night, but Barça had another hero on the night in the form of Inaki Pena.
Stepping into the lineup for the past couple of matches, in the absence of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the La Masia graduate has put in a solid shift and ensured that the German was not missed, especially last night against Porto.
Ter Stegen to return against Atletico Madrid
But, Barcelona do not have to wait any longer to have their first-choice goalkeeper back in action.
Indeed, as per Javi Miguel of AS, everything points towards Ter Stegen being ready to face Atletico Madrid when Barcelona take on them at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys this weekend.
Ter Stegen missed the last two matches for Barça due to a lower back problem. He tried to become available until the last minute for the Porto clash.
As per the report, Ter Stegen had been at the Ciutat Esportiva on Tuesday morning and tried to train along with the goalkeeping coach and the first team doctor. However, the test was not completely satisfactory, since the pain did not subside.
The possibility of taking a painkiller injection was also contemplated. Ultimately, though, the Barcelona captain decided against it, keeping in mind that there were more important games against Atletico Madrid and Girona were coming up.
Leading the team even if he is not playing
Even though Ter Stegen was not part of the matchday squad against Porto, the report states that he was in the locker room last night before kickoff, encouraging his teammates and providing support.
The German international was once again with the players at half-time, providing encouragement at a point when the team was not in the best of shape.
At the full-time whistle, Ter Stegen was seen celebrating the victory at the locker room doors, embracing his teammates and the manager as they came back in.
It is believed that the next three-four days will be critical for Ter Stegen to be 100% fit to face Atletico Madrid, but everything indicates that he will be ready.