Borussia Dortmund will be ruing a string of missed chances against Barcelona in their Champions League Group F opener. Marco Reus saw his penalty saved in the second half as the match ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
Borussia Dortmund 0 - 0 Barcelona
Borussia Dortmund fans will be divided when looking back at their team's goalless draw against Spanish giants Barcelona on Tuesday.
Was the stalemate a case of two points gained against strong opposition? Or more a squandered opportunity to claim a big scalp and take a massive step towards progression to the knockout rounds?
Marco Reus will certainly be veering towards the latter after seeing Germany teammate Marc-Andre ter Stegen deny him on a number of occasions - most notably from the penalty spot in the 57th minute.
Dortmund were the better team for large sections of the contest, their movement and fast transitions causing Barcelona's defence myriad problems.
Meanwhile, Mats Hummels was a colossus in defense as Dortmund held Barcelona back when they probed forward. There were a few nervy moments for the hosts, particularly when Lionel Messi arrived off the bench, but largely Barcelona were kept to half chances - Roman Bürki making one noteworthy save against Luis Suarez in the second half.
Dortmund will surely regret a string of missed chances, Reus especially. The 30-year-old forward had a one-on-one effort blocked by Ter Stegen after 25 minutes, saw his Germany teammate stick out a strong hand to deny him from the penalty spot on 57 minutes, and also blazed over from a decent position.
Paco Alcacer also couldn't find the right touch when he ghosted in at the near post to meet a low cross from Thorgan Hazard while substitute Julian Brandt had Ter Stegen beaten for the first time in the evening, but his rasping effort from range on 77 minutes came back off the crossbar.
It was a performance which merited all three points for Dortmund, but they will take a lot of confidence after matching one of the most feared sides in Europe.
As it happened:
23:03 - Elsewhere, RB Leipzig got their campaign off to a winning start with a 2-1 victory over Benfica in Lisbon. Not such good news for the English sides, with Chelsea losing 1-0 at home to Valencia and Liverpool falling to Napoli 2-0 away from home.
FULL TIME: That's the last touch of the match and it'll feel like two points lost for Dortmund. After an even first half they battered Barcelona in the second, with Marco Reus' penalty miss just one of several spurned opportunities, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen excelling in the visitors' goal. An encouraging display in many ways but not the win they deserved. Our match report will be along here shortly.
90+4 - They nearly nicked it there. Suddenly Suarez is set free down the left by Semedo. Messi is unmarked at the back stick, the ball reaches him and yellow and black hearts are in mouths. But the Argentinian great can't quite get it out of his feet and it's blocked by, yep you guessed it, Hummels.
90+2 - Scrappy from both sides now, a lot of heavy legs out there.
90+1 Three minutes of injury time!
Sancho delivers a corner from the left as we enter the final straight but it's underhit. Delaney tries to recycle it but handles.
90' - Oof. Naughty tackle from Lenglet, who mis-controls, dives in on Sancho and somehow gets away without a booking.
88' - Big from Hummels again. He's had less to do in this half but he just about swings out a leg to keep a looping ball away from Rakitic when it matters. The Croatian would've been through there but for that touch.
87' - Alcacer subbed!
The Spanish striker, who hasn't seen a great deal of the ball really, is replaced by Bruun Larsen.
85' - For what I think is the first time this half, Barca are enjoying a spell of possession in Dortmund's half. They aren't doing much with it but it's better from the visitors.
82' - Suarez overhits a fairly simple ball out towards Sergi Roberto on the right and it goes out for a throw. Barca have not been at it in this second half.
79' - ter Stegen double save!
How are Dortmund not leading? They shift it about in the box to get Brandt in on the right byline, he pulls back to Reus, five yards out. His effort is pushed clear by ter Stegen, who also blocks the second attempt from his compatriot.
77' - Brandt rattles the bar!
Unbelievable strike this, so unlucky. The substitute didn't seem to have a lot on 25 yards out in the middle of the pitch so just unleashed one and absolutely hamemred the bar. Ter Stegen was beaten.
75' - Another big miss from Reus!
Oh Marco. Sancho drifts out to the right touchline and slips in Hakimi, who is charging through on the underlap. He pulls the ball back, Alacacer lets it run and Reus has a free shot from about 12 yards out, fairly central. But he blazes it way over first time.
73' - The Dortmund fans are baying for a second yellow for Pique after he handled the ball on the halfway line. But it was accidental. Dortmund introduce Brandt for Hazard. Barca have barely had a sniff this half, I'm fairly sure they haven't had a shot. But with Messi, Suarez and Griezmann, the Spanish side only need a moment.
71' - Alcacer opportunity!
The chances keep coming. Hakimi and Hazard combine well down the right and the Belgian drives a low ball across goal from near the byline. Alcacer is beyond the front post and tries to spin it in using the pace of the ball but can't pull it off. A tricky angle but a chance nonetheless.
70' - Rakitic goes in to the book for a fairly blatant handball.
69' - Delaney hooks the ball in to the net but the whistle was long gone. The Dane had quite clearly fouled ter Stegen as they competed for a high ball. Elsewhere, Timo Werner has given RB Leipzig the lead away at Benfica.
66' - Another Reus chance!
Delaney gets the ball deep on the right and hurls one in to the area towards Reus. It's a great ball and the Dortmund skipper gets there first, but his header is deflected behind off Lenglet. The corner is cleared but Dortmund are still well on top.
65' - The corner is over Witsel's head and cleared by a Barca man. Messi then gets his first run at the defense before measuring a ball forward to Suarez, but his touch lets him down.
64' - Reus is back in the action. Hazard comes central and slips in Reus on the right edge of the box. He chops back inside but his shot is deflected behind.
62' - Dortmund clear yet another Arthur corner. Can the hosts come again after that? They'd really dominated this half and deserved the chance but that will count for nothing without putting one in the net.
60' - Enter Messi!
As if missing a penalty wasn't enough, here comes Lionel Messi. He's on for Fati while Busquets is replaced by Rakitic.
59' - Well, we've just seen a replay of that save and ter-Stegen was clearly off his line when Reus struck the penalty. Shouldn't the VAR check that?
57' - ter-Stegen saves Reus penalty!
Reus goes to his right, ter-Stegen sees it and goes the same way. He gets down to the low penalty well and palms it almost directly upward. As the vultures circle, the keeper gets up again, cool as you like, and plucks it out of the air inches from the goalline. Are you watching Joachim Löw?
55' - Sancho drives in to the box from the right and looks to have overrun it. But he keeps it in play on the byline and Semedo, having initially done well, dives in and clips him. It's been VAR checked and it's a definite penalty. Reus against ter-Stegen.
55' - PENALTY TO DORTMUND!
54' - Another BVB freekick in a dangerous position, this time five yards from the right corner of the box. Guerreiro is the man this time and finds Hummels in acres but he can't get a head on it. Replays show he was offside anyway. This is the time for Dortmund you feel.
52' - Hazard steps in from the left touchline and whips in a low cross with his right foot. Alcacer throws himself at it but can't get a deflection and it bounces through to ter-Stegen. Good start from the hosts.
51' - Surprisingly, Alcacer takes it despite the presence of Reus. It's weak, and hits the wall. He won't be taking the next one.
50' - Hakimi drives infield from the right. Pique goes to ground but the fullback gets there before him. It's a booking and a freekick, edge of the D in the center of the goal....
48' - Suarez, who hasn't scored away in the Champions League for four years, spins Akanji brilliantly on the left corner of the box. His turn takes him tight to the touchline but Bürki shows him a sliver of goal. Suarez tries to hit it but the Swiss keeper palms it out for a corner, which comes to nothing.
47' - Dortmund have started the second half as they did the first, trying to pen Barca in and force them in to errors. They draw one from Fati but it doesn't land kindly. Then Barca escape the press and Hazard takes a booking after hauling back Sergi Roberto.
46' - Kick off!
Alcacer gets the second half going. Some bloke called Messi is warming up on the touchline.
HALF TIME: That's the end of that, for now. A high tempo half where both sides had moments of ascendancy. Dortmund were really under pressure at the end of the 45 but managed to keep their clean sheet, mainly thanks to Hummels, who has been exceptional. Reus had probably the best chance of the half on 25 minutes but was denied by ter-Stegen, while Barca have looked dangerous without exerting Bürki too much. They've also lost Alba to injury.
45+3 - Hakimi gives away a needless freekick with a shove on Arthur near the left corner flag. Again it's whipped low and again Dortmund just about scramble it clear.
45+1 - Hummels to the rescue, again!
Arthur goes low and flat with a left wing corner. Griezmann flicks on towards a flock of Barca players gathering at the back post. But the big German defender is perfectly positioned again and heads it clear. BVB need half time here.
45' - Hummels inadvertently catches Fati and Arthur clips the central freekick between the high defensive line and Bürki. They need four or five attempts but Dortmund finally hack it away.
43' - Griezmann takes down a long ball with a beautiful flick that takes Guerreiro out the game but Hummels is there to cover, once again. The German center back has had an excellent half.
40' - That's it for Alba. He can't run off his injury and is replaced by Sergi Roberto. Further up the pitch, Barca's widemen, Griezmann and Fati, have swapped wings.
39' - Sancho blazes over!
Pique gets caught underneath a simple ball over the top and then loses out to Reus. The German finds Alcacer who lays it off to the onrushing Sancho. But, for once, the English winger's composure lets him down and he skies it over the bar from 20 yards out in the center of the goal.
36' - Fati goes close!
Bürki initially looks uncertain in coming out for a clipped Arthur freekick and Akanji gets there first. Then the keeper is much stronger to punch clear the loose ball. But it falls to Fati on the edge of the box. He takes a touch and volleys but it's deflected behind. Bürki took out Alcacer there too but he seems ok. Alba seems to be carrying a knock for the visitors.
30' - More good stuff from Dortmund. Witsel drives through a couple of tackles in midfield and feeds Sancho on the halfway line near down the left. He works the ball out to Hakimi via Alcacer and the fullback cuts back inside to find an angle for a shot with his left. But he scuffs it. Then de Jong hits a regulation pass out of play. Are Barca rattled?
28' - Semedo hacks down Sancho near the left touchline level with the six yard box. Reus whips the freekick low to the front post where Hummels stoops to meet it. He's beyond the front post but appears to go for goal and it flies over.
25' - Big chance!
Hazard drives in from the left touchline and spots Reus running from deep. He finds his captain with a lovely little reverse ball but ter-Stegen is out quickly to narrow the angles and, from about eight yards out level with the left post, Reus hits the keeper. Best chance of the game.
24' - The tempo has just slowed a little for the first time in the match. But Dortmund are keeping the ball nicely, they don't want to be chasing it all match.
21' - The corner is cleared and Hakimi and Hazard, who is now playing down the right, try to get something together but it's never quite under control. This one's ebbing and flowing nicely.
19' - Alba slides to hook a ball back in to play before Suarez and Griezmann improvise a headed one-two. Witsel clears the Frenchman's cross out for a corner on the left.
17' - Griezmann finds space down the left and whips a wicked ball in towards Suarez at the back post. But it's just flicked away from the Uruguayan. He thought he was in there.
16' - Huge cheer as Reus charges back to win back possession outside his own box. He swaps passes with Sancho and heads upfield but runs out of options and Barca have it again. They're finding their groove now.
15' - First booking
No great surprise that Delaney is the first name in the book. He was slightly late in to a 50/50 challenge with Busquets who, you'll be shocked to know, made a meal of it. Slightly harsh yellow I'd say.
12' - For the first time in the game, Barcelona are enjoying the sort of sustained possession for which they're known. Then suddenly Fati and Suarez combine to set up Griezmann on the edge of the box but Hummels sticks out a leg to divert it wide. From the corner, Pique's flicked header flashes across the face of goal but goes behind.
8' - Chances
Sancho, constantly involved, slips in Guerreiro on the overlap but Hazard can't quite bring it under his spell. Then Barca give the ball away to Alcacer in their own box but he rushes the shot and drags it wide. BVB are unsettling their opponents early on with a fierce press.
5' - Lovely link up
Reus and Sancho have such a good relationship on the pitch. The Englishman drifts to the left and pushes a disguised pass in to his captain who plays a smart wall pass back. But Sancho's attempts to cut back are snuffed out by Semedo.
3' - Fati has seen a lot of the ball early but Delaney doesn't want him to settle and muscles him, fairly, to the ground. Welcome to the Champions League.
2' - Strong start from the hosts, who are trying to box their opponents in early. A lovely run from Guerreiro amounts to nothing despite an excellent touch by Reus before Fati gets involved but can't find Suarez with his pass.
1' - Kick off!
Here we go. Suarez gets us going in the light blue change shirts of Barcelona.
20:59 - Ticker tape and a full-throated terrace roar greets the players as they line up for the competition anthem. You know the one.
20:56 - Messi embraces Alcacer in the tunnel. The home fans will be delighted to see the Argentinian in a big jacket designed to keep him warm on the bench.
20:53 - That one looks like the ideal result for the two sides we'll be watching tonight. Barcelona will be favorites to win the group whatever happens but three points tonight would put Dortmund firmly in the driving seat, assuming they can get the better of the Czechs. Though, given their recent history in this competition, that's not a given.
20:49 - The final whistle has now blown in the night's two early games. Of most relevance to these two sides is the 1-1 draw in the San Siro, where Inter Milan needed an injury time equalizer from Nicolo Barella to rescue a point against Slavia Prague, expected by most to be the whipping boys of this group. The scoreline was the same between Lyon and Zenit St. Petersburg in France.
20:39 - The Yellow Wall are getting warmed up on Dortmund's towering south stand. We're not far off now. The other German side in action tonight are RB Leipzig, who travel to Lisbon to face Benfica. Jürgen Klopp's holders Liverpool are also in action, they open their campaign away to Napoli.
20:33 - Our man at Signal Iduna Park tonight is Jonathan Harding. The rest of us are, I can assure you, not at all envious. Anyway, give him a follow for a close look at what's going on tonight.
The atmosphere is bound to be cracking, as Marc Bartra, who played, for both these teams said ahead of the game: "The atmosphere is awesome and it makes it very hard for opponents to play," the defender, who is now at Real Betis said. "Sometimes we'd go 1-0 down and in ten minutes you'd equalized and gone 2-1 up without knowing how. They are right on you and transmit an amazing force. It's as if the turf is shaking and they give you the help you need to get through games."
20:27 - One man who'll surely be determined to make an impact tonight is Paco Alcacer. The Spanish poacher was discarded by Barcelona but has truly found his feet in Germany. Can he make the Catalan club regret their decision?
20:18 - The Champions League group stages have taken a fair bit of stick in recent years, much of it justified, for being a little predictable but this is a huge game to come out of the hat on the first night of the group stage. Barca's pedigree needs no introduction while if Dortmund want to be considered contenders abroad as well as at home, they need a big showing tonight.
What makes it even more exciting is the scarcity of the fixture. These two have only ever met in the UEFA Super Cup of 1997.
20:11 - Even Lionel Messi was 17 and a half when he made his debut in the Champions League...
20:07 - In Achraf Hakimi and Guerreiro, Dortmund have two very attack-minded fullbacks. Injuries to Lukasz Piszczek and Nico Schulz don't leave Lucien Favre with a whole lot of choice but it will surely be an area Barca look to exploit.
20:00 - The teams are in and the headline news comes from the visitors, for whom Lionel Messi isn't fit enough to start. Teen prodigy Ansu Fati will continue in his absence.
For the hosts, Thorgan Hazard is preferred to Julian Brandt while Manuel Akanji partners Mats Hummels and Paco Alcacer will lead the line against his old club.
Hello, and welcome to DW's live match blog ahead of Borussia Dortmund's Group F showdown with reigning Spanish champions Barcelona. Much of the prematch waffle has surroudnded Lionel Messi's level of involvement this evening. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is an injury doubt, having not played a competitive match so far this season. Barca insist he is fit to play but it is unclear whether that will be from the bench or in the starting XI.
If he does miss out, 16-year-old Ansu Fati will likely start. Read more about him here:
This is merely the first heavyweight clash of many in Group F, which has been described as the "Group of Death" by many journalists. There's always one. Inter Milan and Czech champions Slavia Prague complete the quartet, though the German and Spanish clubs are regarded as the favorites to progress.