That was a thoroughly exciting Champions League that stayed end-to-end till Gladbach finally ran out of steam late in the second half. Raffael's injury had a debilitating impact on the Germans' game, and it can only be hoped that this match hasn't worsened a groin injury that had already kept the Brazilian out of Gladbach's last two matches. The Foals need him to be fully fit.
That injury apart, Gladbach will take a lot of positives from the match not least the courage, and talent, of Mahmoud Dahoud, Thorgan Hazard, Andreas Christensen, Ibrahima Traore and Nico Elvedi. The youngsters were not awed by their far more illustrious opponents and performed brilliantly infront of a packed Borussia Park. Sadly, their 11-game winning streak at their home ground comes to an end tonight.
It was a strange game for Barcelona, who look subdued and lacking a cutting edge without the Great Leo Messi. Arda Turan's introduction in the second half amped up the temp though, and two goals were a fair return for their incessant pressure. Goes without saying - and with no hint of patronising towards the German side - Barca WILL need to play better as the tournament progresses.
They did what they had to though, and as Luis Enrique will remind anyone who listens - it's the WIN that matters.
It's been an absolute pleasure covering this with you guys!
Anirudh Menon out!
93' Neymar does his Neymar thing and keeps the ball at his feet surrounded by Gladbach players
92' A final Gladbach attack dies as Pique steps up smartly to catch Johnson offside. That should be that.
90' Regardless of the antics though, both Barcelona goals have stemmed from the boots of Neymar. His assist for Turan gives him 12 since he started playing the Champions League. No one has a higher number since that (Sept '13)
89' Neymar turns on the circus tricks but Korb is having NONE OF THIS. He simply waits for Neymar to settle down, before nicking in and winning the ball.
88' OH JOHNSON!!! Fabian Johnson runs onto another tremendous ball from Dahoud, but Mascherano does superbly well to track back and put the striker off his aim
87' Gladbach are having one final go at this game. Wendt sees his ambitious shot trickle well wide of Ter Stegen's goal. But they're back on the front foot here with some superb ball control from Dahoud and Wendt
86' the very impressive Dahoud combines well with Johnson at the edge of the box, but Pique stands firm
85' It is quite incredible how toothless Barcelona have looked for the majority of this game. Is Messi's absence really the cause?
84' Ooooooh. Fabian Johnson in space on the left, but he can't be found. At the other Neymar does one of his brilliant shimmies, but this one doesn't fool Korb. Emphatically stopped in his tracks is the Brazilian captain
83' SUBSTITUTION - An absolutely shattered looking Lars Stindl OFF, Andre Hahn ON. The manager is now sacrificing any notions of control in midfield for more pace and energy.
82' Traore hasn't given up yet, and picks the ball up and runs straight at a furiously backpedalling Barca defense. His final ball to Wendt though has too much juice on it, and Ter Stegen gratefully gathers
81' Pique dances through a non-existent Gladbach midfield, but his through ball has too much in it for Suarez.
Hazard had been absolutely brilliant, but had faded as the game wore on. His early potential match winner now looks like it'll be a consolation goal
79' SUBSTITUTION - THORGAN HAZARD OFF, Patrick Hermann ON
77' The Germans look absolutely wasted here... but just as i say that they win a throw deep in Barca territory
76' A superb effort from Turan, as he attempts to chip the Gladbach keeper from all of thirty odd yards. He does well to claw the ball away
OH WHAT AN EFFORT FROM TURAN!
A great delivery from Neymar bounces all the way to Suarez, whose first time volley is spilled by the keeper. Pique is on hand to tap it in.
73' Corner for Barca
72' Iniesta shows great determination to win a corner. Neymar's delivery isn't up to the mark. the ball though still remains in Barca hands, and the pressure is getting suffocating
71' Stindl has a shot. It ends up nearer the corner flag than the goal posts
70' Traore stands over the freekick and...... it's headed over by a very uncomfortable looking Jordi Alba
69' YELLOW FOR PIQUE... superb play again from Thorgan Hazard. The belgian bursts through two Barcelona players before he is rugby tackled to the ground by Gerard Pique
68' Dahoud does brilliantly to win a goal kick off Jordi Alba. It does, though, look ominous for the Foals
Great substitution from 'Lucho' Enrique here. Turan and Rafinha are pinning the Germans back. The home team are really missing Raffael's bullying presence here, as they seek some outlet for this incessant Barca pressure
OH Gladbach. Busquets steals the ball off Hazard's feet and squares the ball to Neymar. The Brazilian wafts one over the defense, and Arda Turan runs on to it before SMASHING IT right into the top of the goal. WHAT POWER! No chance for the keeper.
65' Now it's Korb's turn to bully Suarez off the ball. this hasn't been the best of nights for the Uruguayan great
64' YELLOW, MASCHERANO - Johnson with this his first real run is upended by Javier Mascherano. The Argentine gets booked for his troubles
63' Alvedi shrugs Luis Suarez off the ball like he's some uppitty junior in college. The 19-year old Swiss kid has been IMPRESSIVE tonight
62' THEY ALMOST GET PUNISHED HERE. A cute pass from Busquets JUSSSSSST evades the stretching Neymar
61' Alvedi hacks the ball away, but there is noone in the opposition half for Gladbach. This is dangerous from the Germans aaandd...
60' SUBSTITUTION - Rakitic OFF, Arda Turan ON! I thought the Croat was finally finding his feet in the game, but the much more knowledgeable Luis Enrique feels enough is enough and throws on Turan. Completely understandable that change, the Croat has been unusually poor tonight
59' Neymar is getting boo-ed to high hell every time he's on the ball. Quite the popular young lad isn't he?
58' Neymar cuts in and turns on the pace, but his pass is cut off by Stindl with a waft of his long leg.
Barca look so much more threatening now that Ivan Rakitic has decided to turn up.
57' Barcelona are establishing themselves much better in midfield. RAKITIC HAS A GO!!! But it's straight at Sommer!
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