AAP Soccer

Ter Stegen saves Barca from Dortmund loss

By AAP Newswire

The only thing missing for Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League Group F opener against visitors Barcelona was a goal.

The German hosts did everything but score as the La Liga champions barely held on for a 0-0 draw at the Westfalenstadion on Tuesday night.

Dortmund hit the crossbar, had a penalty saved, wasted a host of chances and even kept Lionel Messi quiet on his first appearance of the season.

The Argentina star came on as a substitute for the last 30 minutes but was unable to spark Barca's struggling attack, with Dortmund creating the best chances of the game.

Instead Barcelona had goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to thank for avoiding defeat as he saved a penalty from Dortmund captain Marco Reus in the 57th and produced 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 Alcacer also went close against his former side.

"We had to suffer a lot, especially after the break when we lost control and they were very dangerous," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said.

"We have to thank Marc-Andre 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 - who has been sidelined since injuring his calf in the pre-season.

Valverde said Messi is "where any footballer who hasn't had a pre-season and has only completed three or four full training sessions would be - particularly thrown into a match of high velocity."

Dortmund's first big chance fell to Reus, who was denied by ter Stegen in the 25th while Jadon Sancho missed a good opportunity.

A Barcelona corner caused chaos in the Dortmund defence, with Roman Burki punching the ball clear and Fati's effort from the rebound deflected over by Reus.

Dortmund were more aggressive after the break but ultimately couldn't get past ter Stegen.

"I'm going home with the feeling that we dropped two points," Dortmund defender Mats Hummels said.

"We would have put ourselves in a great position in this difficult group."

Dortmund face a trip to Slavia Prague - who drew 1-1 at Inter Milan after conceding a late equaliser at the San Siro - on October 2 while Barca are at home against the Nerazzurri.