Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde had goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to thank for keeping Borussia Dortmund at bay as Ansu Fati made more history as he became the Spanish club’s youngest Champions League debutant.
In a game in which Lionel Messi made his return from injury – replacing the ineffective Fati in the second half – it was Ter Stegen who shone for Barcelona. in the 0-0 draw at the Westfalenstadion. The German goalkeeper saved a penalty from Dortmund captain Marco Reus and repeatedly frustrated the hosts as his own side struggled to mount any meaningful attacks.
“The team overcame a bad moment today, mainly thanks to Ter Stegen,” Valverde said.
“It was a difficult game today and I think the result is fair considering what happened,” Ter Stegen said, and commiserated with Germany teammate Reus.
“Marco played really well today, and really hurt us,” said Ter Stegen.
Fati, 16, started as part of a front three alongside Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez, becoming the youngest Barca player to feature in a European competition, though the Guinea-Bissau forward struggled to make an impact before being replaced by Messi just before the hour.
Yet he remained as blunt as his teammates in a Barcelona attack stifled by the impeccable defending of Dortmund elder statesmen Mats Hummels and Axel Witsel.
Reus was presented with a glorious chance to break the deadlock after Jadon Sancho was brought down in the area by Nelson Semedo. However, the Dortmund captain’s 57th-minute penalty was well saved by Ter Stegen, the fourth spot kick the Barcelona stopper has saved in the Champions League.
Reus was denied twice more by Ter Stegen and Julian Brandt rattled the crossbar with a thundering shot in the 77th.
Reus said he felt “rubbish” after his missed penalty and insisted that Dortmund should have won the game.
“We had four or five chances, and if we had taken one of them, we would have won,”
“We said after the draw that we wanted to qualify for the knockout stages. If we continue to play like we did today then there shouldn’t be a problem.”
“We played brilliantly in the second half, and it feels a bit like we have lost two points,”
The draw leaves all four teams in Group F level on one point, after Inter Milan and Slavia Prague played out a 1-1 draw earlier on Tuesday.