Barcelona 3-1 Borussia Dortmund: 3 Reasons why the Blaugrana won | Champions League 2019-20
Barcelona swatted aside the challenge of Borussia Dortmund as the Blaugrana emerged 3-1 winners at the Camp Nou in a Group F fixture of the UEFA Champions League. The hosts survived an early scare but were excellent thereafter, meaning that the German side were often left searching for answers.
After a quarter of an hour had passed, Luis Suarez made the net bulge after Lionel Messi slipped in a perfectly-weighted through-ball. However, the linesman raised his flag to rule out the goal.
However, the Uruguayan eventually made the net bulge in the 29th minute when he finished off Messi’s exquisite pass. Four minutes later, the Argentine got himself on the score-sheet with a superb left-footed finish from the left edge of the box.
After the restart, Dortmund provided a bit more resistance but they were caught by the proverbial sucker punch when Antoine Griezmann found himself in space on the left channel and slotted past Roman Burki.
Though Jadon Sancho pulled one back and hit the post late in the game, it merely acted as a consolation rather than as a springboard for an improbable comeback.
Here is a look at the three reasons that allowed Barcelona to post a commanding victory.
#3 Barcelona run riot in the first half
Barcelona came into the game on the back of a scrappy 2-1 victory against Leganes at the weekend. Thus, the Blaugrana hadn’t shaken off the turmoil that had engulfed them before the international break, meaning that the encounter against Borussia Dortmund represented a potential banana skin.
To that end, the German side started off briskly when they capitalised on Ivan Rakitic’ mistake to churn out an attempt at goal. To put things into perspective, Samuel Umtiti had to clear the ball off the line when Nico Schulz got on the end of Achraf Hakimi’s cut-back.
However, once that danger had been averted, the hosts grew into the game and clicked into gear. Subsequently, Dortmund were left chasing shadows for the rest of the half as the Blaugrana swarmed all over them and stitched together several irresistible offensive moves.
Rakitic was brilliant in midfield and he acted as the ideal link between the midfield and attack. Ousmane Dembele also looked bright before he hobbled off whereas Junior Firpo and Sergi Roberto kept popping up in the final third to provide width to Barcelona’s attack.
Moreover, Messi and Suarez showcased their telepathic understanding as the pair combined for both goals with the former scoring the second and the Uruguayan opening the scoring.
Apart from the goals, there was real purpose to the Blaugrana’s possession, a facet that has been under the spotlight quite extensively in recent weeks. Whenever they had the ball, they wanted to progress vertically, thereby signalling a slight change in intent.
Most promisingly though, they weren’t devoid of any movement in the middle and attacking third as the players interchanged positions with ease and caused the visitors all sorts of problems.
Over the past few months, quite a few people have been critical of Ernesto Valverde’s tactics and his excessive pragmatism. And, while that particular trait of his might not change in a trice, a performance of such an ilk might just buy him a bit of time.