Low Limit Futbol

2016-2017 Champions League Confidence Picks: Goalkeepers

The 2016-2017 UEFA Champions League quarterfinal matches are upon us. And just like last year, we begin our series of articles looking at the teams by position, and picking the players or groups we are most confident in to lead their team to the final. In the end, by combining all aspects covered in this series, we hope to pick a champion (or at least come close) in this year’s Champions League.

Today, we look at goalkeepers. The goalkeeper can be hero and goat all in one kick of the ball. Many rely on the men in front of them to defend, some single handedly do it themselves. We try to rank the keepers, exclusive of the defenses in front of them (that article is next in our series). Our discussions resulted in many ties between goalkeepers, but we broke them, and give you our top eight.

8. Danijel Subasic, Monaco

 

Subasic has been the beneficiary of the best offense in Europe this year. Monaco are on a torrid pace in Ligue 1, and in their Round of 16 match against Manchester City, scored six goals, including three on the road. Between the sticks, Subasic has had only one clean sheet in the competition, and has had the worst saves to goal ratio of the eight keepers left in the competition at 1.4 saves/goal. If Monaco advance, all signs point to the offense, and not Subasic.

7. Roman Burki, Borussia Dortmund

Burki spent some time on the sidelines this year, having suffered a broken hand against Bayern Munich in November, requiring surgery to repair the fracture. He has returned to his previous form, but Burki, like Subasic, is the beneficiary of a prolific offense. He has conceded 8 goals in his last 10 matches across all competitions, but only conceded one goal in the Round of 16 against Benfica. Burki has had three clean sheets so far in this competition, but will have a great deal of difficulty picking up his next one against Monaco.

6. Keylor Navas, Real Madrid

The defending champion has had an awful campaign this time around. He has had no clean sheets this competition, and has also conceded the most goals of our final eight at 11 goals. There have been rumblings out of the Bernabeu recently linking them to multiple replacement options for Navas, so if he wants to save his job, eliminating Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals would be a good start.

5. Kasper Schmeichel, Leicester City

The Danish keeper has conceded 12 goals in his last 10 matches, but only two goals in Champions League play, both of which were to Sevilla in the Round of 16. Schmeichel also missed time this year due to a broken hand, but returned just after missing a month from action. He has managed four clean sheets in this competition so far, and will need to increase that total when his Cinderella side faces defensive powerhouse Atletico Madrid.

4. Jan Oblak, Atletico Madrid

Last year’s runner up has had a great Champions League campaign so far. The youngest goalkeeper left in this competition (24) is tops in saves per goal at 8 saves/goal so far this competition. He is also tied for most clean sheets in this competition at five. With Leicester City on the horizon, and helped by one of the best defenses left in the competition, Oblak looks to improve his statistical profile on the pitch on his way to a potential semi final appearance.

3. Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Barcelona

One of two German keepers in the top eight, ter Stegen is the 2015 champion, having beaten another keeper on this list for that title. His recent form however in this competition has been anything but perfect, having conceded four against PSG on the road, but coming up with key saves and even drawing a foul at midfield for the game winner in the home leg. He does however have three clean sheets in this competition, which is good for fourth best among the eight remaining keepers.

2. Gianluigi Buffon, Juventus

Widely considered one of the greatest of all time, the Carrara Italy native just hit the 1000 match played level of his career. The 39 year old is also tied for the top in clean sheets (5) and least amount of goals conceded (2) in this competition. But like Oblak, Gigi is the beneficiary of one of the best defenses in all of Europe. He has also won every competition there is to win, except this cup. This may be now or never for the Italian giant.

1. Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich

Where Buffon is missing one major trophy, our top rated keeper in the competition isn’t. Neuer won the 2014 World Cup with Germany, and the 2013 Champions League with Bayern. He has made 18 saves so far this competition, and has only conceded three goals in his lat 10 matches across all comps. As far as this competition goes, he has only conceded five goals, and has two clean sheets.

 

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