Goalkeepers have it tough – they’re the hero when they pull off a wonder save or keep a clean sheet, but they’re soon the villain when it goes wrong. Even the best goalkeepers in the world make mistakes, as we will find in this list. But should Barcelona want to win it this year (they’re the favourite Champions League odds winner), they’ll have to hope that Marc-André ter Stegen doesn’t make a clanger like some of these goalkeepers have in the past.
Gianluigi Buffon – Paris Saint-Germain v Manchester United Considered one of the best goalkeepers of all-time, with 176 caps for Italy and over 650 appearances for Juventus, Gianluigi Buffon proved he was human too, after a catastrophic error gifted Manchester United a goal. United were 2-0 down after the first-leg of their round of 16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain in this season’s competition, but Buffon’s blunder and a controversial VAR decision went in their favour.
This ensured that the Red Devils ran out 3-1 winners on the night and went through to the quarter-finals on away goals. Buffon uncharacteristically misjudged Marcus Rashford’s long-range effort, spilling it straight into the path of Romelu Lukaku, who had a simple tap-in.
Sven Ulreich – Real Madrid v Bayern Munich Following Manuel Neuer’s re-occurring metatarsal fracture in mid-September, all eyes were on Sven Ulreich to fill the void. In his previous two seasons with Bayern, Ulreich only made 10 appearances, with Neuer ever-present in the side, so it was a good opportunity for the understudy to get a run-out. Ulreich had kept four clean sheets in the Champions League and only conceded six goals prior to facing Real Madrid in the second-leg of their semi-final. Los Blancos went into the game with two away goals, winning 2-1 in Germany.
Karim Benzema was already on the scoresheet, when he made it 2-1 on the night and 4-2 on aggregate, giving Bayern a huge mountain to climb. It wasn’t all Ulreich’s fault, as midfielder Corentin Tolisso was under pressure on the edge of Bayern’s box. His panic caused him to miscue a hurried back-pass but Ulreich was unable to control it. His wild swinging leg caused the Bayern goalie to slip, with the ball rolling past him towards the goal to allow Benzema to net one of the easiest chances he’ll ever have. Madrid went through 4-3 on aggregate and beat Liverpool in the final.
Mile Svilar – Manchester United v Benfica Mile Svilar made history in the 2017-18 season when not only did he become the youngest player to turn out for Benfica, but also became the youngest player to feature in the Champions League, breaking Iker Casillas’ record. Benfica finished bottom of Group A with no wins and six losses from their six games. Unfortunately for Svilar, it was in both fixtures of their tie against the Red Devils that the young Belgian slipped up. At the Estadio de Luz, United escaped with a narrow 1-0 victory. In the 64th minute, a Rashford free-kick was carried over the line by the goalkeeper, but was still accredited to the England striker. In the return game at Old Trafford, another error gave Svilar a record he’d like to forget – the youngest player to score an own goal in the Champions League.
It was likely that United were going to progress on matchday four and they were 2-0 winners at the Theatre of Dreams. On the stroke of half time, Nemanja Matic’s powerful shot struck the post, but ricocheted off Sviler and hit the back of the net. Maybe unfortunate for the young keeper, but a moment he’d like to forget nonetheless – a shame as he had previously saved Anthony Martial’s spot-kick.
Loris Karius – Real Madrid v Liverpool Spare a thought for Loris Karius, the Liverpool goalkeeper who made not one, but two errors in their Champions League final against Real – undoubtedly costing them the trophy. It was the Reds’ biggest European game since the final of 2005, but Karius’ errors won’t be forgotten easily as they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat. All of the goals came in the second-half and Madrid were gifted their opener on 51 minutes, when Karius hurriedly threw the ball out to Benzema, who simply stuck a leg out and put Los Blancos ahead.
Despite Sadio Mané equalising for the Reds minutes later, a Gareth Bale double sealed it. There was no chance Karius could save the first, but questions had to be asked regarding the second. Bale’s 30-yard shot was more hit and hope than anything, and the German keeper mishandled it, bundling it over the line. After the game, he underwent a medical examination in the USA and it revealed he had suffered concussion, something Jurgen Klopp was quick to mention at the start of pre-season: “We don’t use it as an excuse, we use it as an explanation. For me, it’s 100% the explanation [for his performance]. He was influenced by that knock – that is 100%”.