10th August 2015.
On August 27th, ahead of the group stage draw for the 2015 2016 Champions League, UEFA will announce the winners of the Goal and Save of the Season awards. We will also do a rundown of the nominees for Goal of the Season, but today, we're taking a look at the goalkeepers who have been nominated for the UEFA Save of the Season 2014 - 2015 Prize. Of course, similar to Goal of the Season, the nominees for Save of the Season are all moments that took place in UEFA competitions during the 2014 2015 season-so Europa League and Champions League matches, Euro qualification fixtures, U19 or U21 games, and more.
So, without further ado, the nominees! Note that the hyperlinks provided on the names of the goalkeepers take you to UEFA's page, where you can vote for the goal in question as your "Save of the Season."
The Goalkeeper: Sergio Rico, of Sevilla FC
The Game: The Europa League final, between Sevilla and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
The Reason: Sevilla FC won a second Europa League title in a row last season, but they might have gone home empty-handed if it hadn't have been for this save. Sevilla were leading 2-1, having fought their way back into the lead after Dnipro broke the ice with a goal seven minutes in. This would-be goal, from Dnipro's Yevhen Konoplyanka, missed its mark after Rico made a diving save, tipping the ball over the crossbar with an outstretched hand.
The Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel, of the Denmark national football team
The Game: A Euro 2016 qualifying game, against Serbia
The Reason: Denmark are in second place in Euro 2016 Qualifying Group I, thanks in part to this save.
Schmeichel fearlessly blocked a point-blank header to keep the Danish side up 2-0 in this June 13th home match.
The Goalkeeper: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, of FC Barcelona
The Game: A Champions League semifinal game, between Barcelona and Bayern Munich
The Reason: Claudio Bravo was Barca's go-to keeper in 2014 2015 La Liga play, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen earned his keep in this save, in a May 13th UCL semifinal match against Bayern Munich. Bayern won the game 3-2, but ter Stegen made two saves in quick succession here to keep Barcelona up 5-3 in the semifinal aggregate. The Spanish football club would go on to win the Champions League.
The Goalkeeper: Oleh Kudryk, for the FC Shakhtar Donetsk youth team
The Game: A UEFA Youth League semifinal fixture, against RSC Anderlecht
The Reason: An 18-year-old whiz in the net, Kudryk only allowed five goals throughout the entire UEFA Youth League competition, leading up to this semifinal match against Anderlecht. He made another impressive save here, helping Shakhtar win the semifinal 3-1. They lost 2-3 to Chelsea in the finals.
The Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer, of FC Bayern Munich
The Game: A Champions League group stage game, between Bayern and Roma
The Reason: Neuer earned a Ballon d'Or nomination in 2014, and is generally regarded as the greatest goalkeeper in the world right now. This save shows why. Bayern obliterated Roma in this November 5th home game, winning 2-0 and keeping the Italian squad from even getting near the net for the majority of playtime. Not seeing the ball for most of the match could have made Neuer rusty by the time it came his way at the 85th minute, but a double save-of both Gervinho's original shot and Radja Nainggolan's rebound attempt-made Neuer look like a guy who can somehow be in two places at once.Â
The Goalkeeper: Joe Hart, of Manchester City
The Game: A Champions League round of 16 match, against FC Barcelona
The Reason: Joe Hart was the Premier League's finest goalkeeper in 2014 2015, and one of the finest in Europe. This save, in which Hart stopped a very threatening team-up attack from Neymar and Lionel Messi, proves his skill in the face of high pressure.
The Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon, of Juventus
The Game: The Champions League final, between Juventus and Barcelona
The Reason: The only goalkeeper nominated for UEFA's "Best Player in Europe Award," Buffon was a revelation during the Champions League, particularly with this save in the championship match. Buffon looked like he was diving the wrong way as a strike flew in from Barca's Dani Alves, but he changed direction to make the save and keep Juventus from falling two points behind just 13 minutes into the match.
The Goalkeeper: Jakob Busk, of the Denmark Under-21 team
The Game: An Under-21 match, between Denmark and Germany
The Reason: Busk was the highlight of a June 20th battle between Denmark and Germany's U21 sides, managing an impressive double save at the 68-minute mark. The Germans won the match 3-0, but Denmark would have fallen much further behind were it not for Busk's impressive solidarity in the net.
The Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois, of Chelsea FC
The Game: A second-leg round of 16 Champions League match, against Paris Saint Germain
The Reason: PSG snuck past Chelsea in this match to secure a spot in the UCL quarterfinals, but his extra-time save by Courtois showed that the 23-year-old deserved to wear the Chelsea goalkeeper jersey 2015 2016. For a moment, it looked like a header from PSG's Thiago Silva had found its mark in the lower right-hand corner of the Chelsea net. In actuality, though a diving save from the reflexive Courtois denied the shot.
The Goalkeeper: Denys Boyko, of FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
The Game: The Europa League final, between Dnipro and FC Sevilla
The Reason: Sevilla's Sergio Rico wasn't the only one to make a remarkable save in the UEFA Europa League final. On the contrary, this late block from Boyko denied a header from Sevilla's Carlos Bacca and sent it bouncing onto the top of the net instead of into the net. The save kept Bacca from securing what would have been the first hat trick ever scored in a Europa League final.
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UEFA Save of the Season 2014 - 2015 Nominees
10th August 2015.