Borussia Dortmund 0, FC Barcelona 0: BVB fought Barca to a draw and could have won the contest if not for those pesky kids from Catalonia and their disgruntled German international goalkeeper. Yes, it was Marc-André ter Stegen who stole the show. Ter Stegen put on a display in hopes of showing that is HE who should be starter between the sticks for Die Mannschaft.
Instead of firing barbs at Manuel Neuer, Ter Stegen let his play on the field speak for itself and the 27-year-old was superb. Ter Stegen made a few excellent saves, including a stop of Marco Reus on a penalty kick.
Reus will surely have a nightmare or two about what could have been. As the Dortmund captain told ESPN:
It feels terrible. My penalty was badly taken. We could have won it as our performance was good. It would have been the ideal start. But we can build on this.
Mats Hummels made a positive impression leading the Borussia Dortmund defense as well. While Lionel Messi did not get a full shift, Hummels still had to lead the BVB defenders against Luis Suarez, Antoine Greizmann, Ansu Fati, Frenkie de Jong, and the rest of Barca’s high-powered lineup.
Barca coach Ernesto Valverde was happy to have Ter Stegen flashing his skill and counts his goalkeeper as the primary reason his team was successful:
We suffered a lot. It was something we already knew would happen. We lacked depth in the last meters and we did not have as many chances as they had. Fortunately, Marc was very good.
Sure, Barca started the game without Messi, who came on in the 57th minute, but this was still was not a terrible result for Dortmund even if they were the hosts. The group stage is all about survival and this is one point that BVB will be able to use in what looks like a very solid Group F.
RB Leipzig 2, Benfica 1: Die Roten Bullen did not have an easy draw for their first match as they visited Portuguese power Benfica at Estádio da Luz. In a very difficult spot, Timo Werner ensured it was #TimoTime somewhere with two second-half goals to power his squad to a victory.
Werner scored in the 69th minute and 78th minute to give Leipzig a 2-0 lead before Benfica’s Haris Seferovic cut the lead to 2-1 in the 84th minute for Águias. The win was important for Leipzig, because Group G could be set up nicely for them to win.
Werner told DAZN (as captured by BuliNews.com) that he was pleased with the team’s effort in the victory:
The way my teammates set me up today was great. That’s why I’m here - to put the finishing touches on chances. Everyone put in a great performance today. It always feels great to score twice whether it’s in the league or the Champions League, but tonight I think we saw phases of a very attractive game of a football. Both teams wanted to win, but for long periods our lead was deserved so we’re delighted to come away with a win.
After opening the scoring, doubling our lead was only a matter of time. We’re pleased with the win, but if we can improve our chance conversion we’ll be able to decide games in our favor earlier.
RB Leipzig captain Willi Orban was also happy after the game, but also thinks there is room for improvement as he told Sportbuzzer:
If you win such an intense game at the end, you’re naturally happy. We might have managed it with greater poise. The game was relatively balanced in the first half. In the second half, we put on a dominant performance, but we kept failing to score. We created good situations and had good spacing. In such a heated final phase you have to stay awake at all times.