Manuel Veth –
Barcelona v Dortmund – November, 27 – Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
Game one of two for Lucien Favre to rescue his Borussia Dortmund career. The Black and Yellows, however, struggled to get into the game as Barcelona took control of the match. It felt like it was only a matter of time for the Spaniards to take the lead. In the 23rd minute, Luis Suarez had a goal called back because of offside. Six minutes later, Suarez would not be denied, beating Roman Bürki with a close-range shot after a great assist by Lionel Messi. Then just four minutes later, in the 33rd minute, Messi scored after a Mats Hummels give-away. As a result, Dortmund went into the break trailing by two.
Favre reacted and brought on the benched Jadon Sancho for Nico Schulz to start the second half. With Sancho on the pitch, Dortmund were much improved and were looking for a goal to get back into the game. That played right into Barcelona’s hands because in the 67th minute, Antoine Griezmann made it 3-0 on a counter-attack. The game was effectively over, but Dortmund would get on the board thanks to a wonderful strike by Sancho in the 77th minute. Sancho then nearly made it 3-2 in the 86th minute, but Marc-André ter Stegen redirected his shot on the crossbar.
Barcelona v Dortmund – Three Stars
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Lionel Messi was fantastic underlying his status as the world’s best player. The Argentine first set up Luis Suarez for the lead, then scored himself, and that was just in the first half. Then in the second half, he overran Julian Weigl and then set up Antoine Griezmann for Barca’s third goal.
Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
Luis Suarez was incredibly efficient. The Uruguayan thought he had his first goal of the game in the 23rd minute but was ruled offside. Not that that deterred Suarez, just six minutes later he was once again in a similar position, only this time he had beaten the offside trap. One tap, a turn, and the ball went through Bürki’s legs, highlighting the danger of giving Suarez to much space in the box.
Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
“We need players on the pitch who are focused and ready,” Lucien Favre said about Sancho ahead of the game. Favre felt that the Englishman lacked the focus to perform on the big stage against Barcelona. The truth, however, is that it is the other way around, Dortmund cannot do without Sancho. When the Englishman came on in the second half, Dortmund improved instantly, and his goal was the best that evening.
GOALS: 1-0 (Suarez 29’) 2-0 (Messi, 33’) 3-0 (Griezmann, 67’), 3-1 (Sancho, 77′)
Barcelona have qualified for the round of 16. Borussia Dortmund, in the meantime, no longer have their faith in their own hands. The Black and Yellows will need to beat Slavia Praha on matchday 6 and hope that Barcelona will take points off Inter Milan.
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With Barca qualified, Dortmund will not be able to rely on the Spaniards giving their all on the final day of the group stage. But that will not be the only question mark in the coming weeks. The performance in the first half will put further pressure on Borussia Dortmund Lucien Favre. Dortmund did not show up until Sancho came on; at that stage, the game was, however, over.
Barcelona v Dortmund – Line-ups
ter Stegen – Firpo, Lenket, Umtiti, Sergi Roberto – F. de Jong, Busquets, Rakitić (Vidal, 78′) – O. Dembélé (Griezmann, 26′), Suarez (Wagué, 91′), Messi
Bürki – N. Schulz (Sancho, 46′), Hummels, Akanji, Piszczek (Zagadou, 76′) – Witsel, Weigl (Götze, 86′) – Guerreiro, Reus, Hakimi – Brandt
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others, contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.