DORTMUND, Germany (AP) – The only thing missing for Borussia Dortmund was a goal.
The German team did everything but score as Barcelona barely held on for a 0-0 draw in their Champions League opening game early yesterday.
The home side hit the crossbar, missed a penalty, wasted a host of chances and even kept Lionel Messi quiet on the Argentina star’s first appearance of the season.
Messi came on as a substitute for the last 30 minutes but was unable to spark the visitors’ struggling attack, with Dortmund creating the best chances of the game.
Instead, Barcelona had goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen to thank for avoiding defeat as he saved a penalty from Dortmund captain Marco Reus in the 57th minute and denied the home side with a string of saves on his return to his native Germany. “It was a very difficult game,” ter Stegen said.
Dortmund substitute Julian Brandt struck the crossbar and Paco Alcácer also went close against his former side. It was the first game in which the Spanish striker failed to score this season.
“We had to suffer a lot, especially after the break when we lost control and they were very dangerous,” said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, who thanked ter Stegen for “his outstanding saves”.
The 16-year-old Ansu Fati made his Champions League debut to become Barcelona’s youngest player in a UEFA competition, before coming off for Messi in the 59th minute. Messi hadn’t played since injuring his leg in pre-season.