DORTMUND, Germany – Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s tremendous performance in goal allowed Barcelona to steal a point with a 0-0 draw on Tuesday against Borussia Dortmund in the 2019-2020 Champions League kickoff for both teams.
With five impressive stops, including a penalty, the German made up for an otherwise flat performance by the talent-laden visiting side.
Though Barça had more of the ball, 59 percent to 41 percent, the hosts outshot the Catalan club 13-7 overall and Dortmund shooters found the target four times.
Urged on by the 66,000 in the stands at Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park, the home team started the match with a lot of ambition and Barcelona took a while to establish their ball-control game.
Antoine Griezmann and Gerard Pique had chances off corner kicks, highlighting Dortmund’s vulnerability on set pieces, yet the closest either team came to scoring in the first half was a strike by Marco Reus in the 25th minute that was the occasion for Ter Stegen’s first decisive intervention of the night.
Barcelona created danger on another corner before the break, but Dortmund defender Mats Hummels ensured no attacker could get on the end of Griezmann’s drive to the far post.
Dortmund returned from the break with the clear intention to go for the victory and Luis Suarez’s great individual effort in the 48th minute would prove to be Barcelona’s only offensive highlight of the second half.
The crucial sequence began in the 55th minute, when Barça’s Semedo took a foolish penalty against Jadon Sancho and the referee pointed to the spot.
Marco Reus took the shot and Ter Stegen made the stop, the fourth out of the six penalties he has faced in Champions League play.
While the entry in the 59th minute of Lionel Messi – making his first appearance of the season – and Ivan Rakitic lifted Barcelona’s game, Reus forced two more saves from Ter Stegen and Brandt hit the cross-bar.
Barça were the better side over the final 10 minutes of regulation and Messi came close to getting the winner in stoppage time.
The outcome, combined with the earlier 1-1 draw in Milan between Inter and Slavia Praha, leaves all four teams in Group F tied on 1 point each.
For Germans, meanwhile, Ter Stegen’s brilliance is sure to fuel the national debate over whether he or Manuel Neuer should be the starting keeper for Die Mannschaft.