Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s heroics in goal helped Barcelona salvage a point in their Champions League opener against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night.
It was a disappointing display from Barcelona, who failed to cause much problems to the Dortmund backline despite bossing possession for most phases of the game. Marco Reus had the best chance of the first half, but his shot was denied by Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen before Jadon Sancho fired over the bar from a very promising position.
Barcelona came close to scoring early in the second half, but Luis Suarez’s effort from a tight angle was stopped by Roman Burki. Ten minutes in, Dortmund were awarded a penalty after Nelson Semedo fouled Sancho in the box. Reus stepped up to take the spot-kick, but ter Stegen pulled off a fine stop to deny him, although the goalie appeared to be off his line when the kick was taken.
Chances came thick and fast for Dortmund as former Barcelona man Alcacer missed narrowly, while Reus skied another chance that came his way before substitute Julian Brandt struck the woodwork with a well-hit strike. Reus came close again, only to be defied by ter Stegen, who made a smart double save against his former Borussia Monchengladbach teammate.
It's all over. 0-0 in Dortmund. pic.twitter.com/v0xaRs4XuW
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 17, 2019
Barcelona could have won it with the final kick of the game but Lionel Messi’s strike was blocked by Thomas Delaney as the game ended in a 0-0 draw with both the teams walking away with a point each. Here’s how we rated the performances of Ernesto Valverde’s men on the night;
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 9/10
By far the best Barcelona player on the field on Tuesday night, the German international showed his class upon his return to his homeland. Charged out and made a good save to deny Reus in the first half, before pulling off an incredible save to keep the Dortmund star’s penalty.
Followed it up with a double save to thwart the same player, ensuring Barcelona walked away with a point. The woodwork came to his aid the only time he was beaten on the night by Julian Brandt’s strike. Deserved the clean sheet and the plaudits that came his way after a stellar display.
Nelson Semedo: 4/10
The Portuguese international never really looked comfortable on the night and things only got worse for him after moving to the left side of the defence following Jordi Alba’s injury. Had a torrid time going up against the pace and trickery of Jadon Sancho. Fouled the English winger and conceded the penalty that almost cost his team the game.
Gerard Pique: 5/10
The veteran defender’s iffy start to the campaign continued as he found it difficult to cope with the pace and movement of the Dortmund attackers. Was beaten all ends up in the move leading to Reus’ chance in the first half, while failed to keep up with Alcacer leading to another chance for the home team. Booked.
Clement Lenglet: 5/10
The other half of Barcelona’s central defensive pairing also struggled against Dortmund on Tuesday. Wasn’t all too convincing when dealing with crosses that came in while he tended to get caught out when the hosts attacked at speed. Wasn’t effective enough in playing out from the back either.
Jordi Alba: 6/10
Started the game well and was a decent outlet on the left flank, until a hamstring injury forced him off the field in the 40th minute.
Frenkie de Jong: 6/10
Having scored his first goal for Barcelona in the last game, the summer signing failed to build on that display in Germany. Worked hard, pressed well but lacked that bit of incision to hurt the hosts’ defence. Helped out a lot defensively, especially after Sergio Busquets was taken off, but the Blaugrana needed more from him.
Sergio Busquets: 6/10
Barcelona’s midfield anchorman was always available to receive a pass from his teammates, while he dropped in between the two centre-backs to provide extra protection. However, looked vulnerable when Dortmund attacked at pace and at times slowed things down in transition. Subbed off for Ivan Rakitic.
Arthur Melo: 6/10
The Brazilian international had a solid first half when he helped Barcelona hog possession and control the game. Composed as ever on the ball while his passing was crisp as usual. Tried to open up the home team, but was forced into playing it safe more often than not. Influence waned as the game wore on though.
Ansu Fati: 5/10
Became the youngest player to represent Barcelona in Europe, aged 16 years, 221 days old. But, the teenage sensation failed to have the same kind of impact he did at the weekend against Valencia. There were few glimpses of quality here and there, but couldn’t make a great deal of difference for his team and was taken off for Lionel Messi. Looks much better playing on the left than the right flank.
Luis Suarez: 5/10
Apart from a shot at goal from a narrow angle early in the second half, the Uruguayan international struggled to come up with anything meaningful in the final third of the pitch. Seemed to be lacking the sharpness he showed in his cameo against Valencia, while his touch let him down a lot of times.
Antoine Griezmann: 6/10
Another display filled with effort and endeavour but lacking the impact. The World Cup winner worked his socks off on the left side, but failed to conjure up anything of importance in the final third. Seems to be lacking that understanding with his attacking partners and is likely to need a few more games to get into tune with his new teammates.
Sergi Roberto: 6/10
Replaced the injured Alba minutes before half-time and slotted in at right-back with Semedo moving to the left. Provided plenty of width moving forward on the right flank and kept things ticking with some neat passes.
Lionel Messi: 6/10
The Barcelona captain made his return from injury, replacing Ansu Fati in the 59th minute. Did not look fully fit though, as he couldn’t make much of an impact. Had a shot blocked deep into stoppage time.
Ivan Rakitic: 5/10
Came on for Busquets at the hour mark. Looked to help out in attack, but left his defence exposed, allowing Dortmund to pile on the pressure.