5 things we learned from Matchday 2B of the 2018/2019 UEFA Champions League
The second day of the 2018/2019 UEFA Champions League Matchday 2 took place on Wednesday, and as expected, it served us plenty of thrilling matches and lots of goals.
Some clubs such as Barcelona and Dortmund took one step further towards qualifying for the second round with victories taking them to six points, while Tottenham suffered their second defeat to leave their qualification hopes hanging by the thread.
Following up from Dzeko and Dybala’s hat-tricks the day before, there were also brilliant individual displays, with Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann the picks of the bunch, as the pair scored a brace and registered an assist each.
Just like the previous matchday, there were also many observations made from this round of fixtures. Here are 5 things we learned from matchday 2b of the 2018/2019 Champions League group stage.
#5 Lionel Messi is in Beast mode
Messi is widely considered by many to be the greatest player in the history of football, and rightly so, as he alongside Cristiano Ronaldo has changed the footballing landscape with their otherworldly performances over the last decade.
The Argentine’s numbers are well known, so there is no need repeating them, and Barcelona have benefitted immensely from having the 31-year-old within their ranks, as the Blaugrana have won all the trophies possible since their record goalscorer donned their colors.
However, Barcelona has struggled in Europe in recent seasons, failing to advance beyond the quarter-finals since 2016, and watching on haplessly as eternal rivals Real Madrid won each of those tournaments.
A large contributing factor to their struggles can be traced to Lionel Messi, as he has also failed to impact on the biggest stage of European club football.
Messi has not scored a Champions League quarter-final goal since 2013, a staggering run of 10 matches which is almost unbelievable if you consider his goalscoring ratios in that time.
It, therefore, comes as no surprise that since 2013, Barcelona has managed to make it beyond the last eight just once, in its treble-winning campaign of 2015, falling at that stage on the other four occasions, as a lot of their success can be traced to Messi’s impact.
Barcelona has dominated Spain in recent years, winning seven league titles since 2008, and triumphing in the Copa Del Rey on each of the last four occasions, so it is, therefore, no surprise that most of their attention would be on conquering Europe once more.
Messi has begun this campaign in the best way possible, starting off with a hat-trick against PSV on the opening day, and he put up another stunning display against Tottenham at Wembley to condemn Spurs to a 4-2 defeat.
He had a hand in the opening two goals, and hit the post twice, proving unplayable throughout the match before getting the brace his performance on the night truly deserved.
Barcelona would be turning to Lionel Messi to lead them to the promised land of European glory, and on evidence of his performance against Tottenham, he is on fire.