Luis Suarez’s drought continues
Luis Suarez’s lack of goals away from home in the Champions League did not go unnoticed in the build-up to the game with statisticians pointing out the Uruguayan has now gone four years without a goal on his travels in Europe’s top competition.
The 32-year-old came into the match fresh from banging in two off the bench against Valencia but never looked like repeating that feat against Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion.
Suarez was arguably Barcelona’s weakest performer in Germany. His touch was awful, his movement was poor, he looked sluggish and never once troubled Roman Burki in the Dortmund goal.
The match represented the first time Barcelona have failed to score in their opening Champions League group game since 2009-10. That’s not all, Barca have only won four of their last 14 matches away from home in Europe’s top competition.
Of course it’s not all Suarez’s fault, but he’s part of Barca’s European travel sickness and something needs to change if they are to lift the European Cup this season.
Ter Stegen earns Barca’s first clean sheet
Barcelona picked up their first clean sheet of the season against Dortmund but most of that was down to the heroics of goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The stopper was at his very best in his homeland, producing a brilliant early block from Marco Reus, denying the Dortmund No. 11 from the penalty spot and showing the world once again that he is Germany’s best goalkeeper.
Yet apart from Ter Stegen Barcelona looked vulnerable defensively. Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet weren’t convincing against Reus and Paco Alcacer, although they did help Barca become the first club to shut out the Spain international this season.
Meanwhile, Jordi Alba went off injured, and Nelson Semedo conceded a penalty for a foul on Jadon Sancho after being shifted out of position and into the left-back slot after the Spaniard went off.
The visitors also rode their luck defensively again. Julian Brandt did manage to beat Ter Stegen, only to see his shot cannon against the crossbar. Dortmund would probably have won the match with better finishing, and Barca need to tighten up.
Messi’s return will boost Barca
Barcelona have not enjoyed the happiest of starts to the new campaign. They have won only two of four in La Liga and have been without the GOAT, but the captain made his long-awaited return from injury on Tuesday night.
What initially looked like a minor injury picked up in training has actually kept Messi out for a little while, but he was given 30 minutes at the Westfalenstadion and everyone at the club will be relieved to see him back in action.
Messi was unable to conjure up a winner for the visitors during his time on the field, but Ernesto Valverde was happy enough with his contribution.
“He’s like any player who hasn’t had a pre-season. He’s had to play in a game at an incredible pace, which had already started, all without preparation. It’s his first 30 minutes. He’s done enough.”
Source | Goal
The Barcelona captain may now make his first start of the season on Saturday in La Liga against Granada. The club face a busy schedule between now and the next international break in October, but the return of the GOAT will give them a much-needed boost.