The English Premier League team Newcastle United is all set to make a final push to advance to the Round of 16 against AC Milan tonight at their home turf, St James’ Park. This UEFA Champions League matchday 6 clash marks the final fixture of the group stage.
The Magpies are already dealing with a depleted squad ahead of their must-win European tie. And now, their second-choice goalkeeper has also been sidelined due to injury. Former Liverpool shot-stopper Loris Karius is in line to revive his career in the Champions League, where his downfall began in 2018.
Is Loris Karius going to start for Newcastle?
Newcastle is preparing to welcome the Serie A side despite the absence of eight first-team players, in addition to Sandro Tonali, who is serving a suspension due to his involvement in a betting scandal. Moreover, they have only managed a single win in the last two draws and as many defeats as five matches.
Subsequently, they are currently placed third in the Group F points table in the Champions League. In the final group-stage encounter, Eddie Howe’s led side needs at least a win to progress to the next round, or even a draw would secure them a third-place finish, securing a place in the Europa League tonight.
The challenges keep mounting on the Magpies as Martin Dubravka, the second-choice keeper, sustains shoulder problems. It’s unclear if he will be fit enough to feature in this important clash. Earlier, the English number 1, Nick Pope, recently had an operation; thus, he remains sidelined for months as well.
Therefore, the English side will be compelled to play third-choice German keeper Loris Karius in the Champions League decider, which will determine the fate of the European season. It could be Karius’ first appearance for Newcastle this season. Overall, he has made only a single appearance since arriving at St. James’ Park in 2022.
Loris Karius’ horror show in 2018 final
In 2018, Loris Karius played for Liverpool and performed well, helping his side reach the UEFA Champions League final with six clean sheets in the European competition. In total, Karius made 33 appearances for the Reds, registering an impressive 16 clean sheets across all competitions that season.
In the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid, Loris Karius’ two infamous blunders cost Liverpool the trophy as Los Blancos forwards Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale took advantage of his mistakes to secure the 13th Champions League trophy with a 3-1 scoreline for the Spanish giants.
It marked Loris Karius’ last appearance in Europe, as the German keeper fell off the ranks and left the club on loan spells to Besiktas and Union Berlin, respectively.
Finally, he joined Newcastle in 2022 as a free agent, serving as the third-choice keeper. Now, seizing an opportunity to revive his career, he may become a difference-maker against Milan in a crucial encounter tonight.