Barcelona came back from losing this one, pretty easily. For a whole first half, they struggled with hard and disciplined defense and tactical moves of Borussia. When they have found the solution, express goals were there and they slowed down game tempo, entering calm finishing, and ending this game.
The first half was pretty lousy. Borussia tactic was “all in defense”, and this kind of game at your home is really awful. All eleven players were most of the time behind the ball, and strictly in lines, where strikers position is some forty meters from own goal. Barcelona dominated with ball possession, but couldn’t find the way to the net. The home team waited for counter-attacks and played hard in the own middle, narrowing down space in middle for Neymar and Suarez. Christoph Kramer did excellent job pressuring Rakitic and Iniesta and slowing their game down.
Three chances for Barcelona in the first half. Opening minutes Neymar had a chance to break all tactic if he just has been more accurate, he shot low, directly toward the middle of the goal, but Sommer saved his goal and a huge opportunity was wasted. A Little bit later at the 11th minute, Suarez had first of his two chances. His shot from inside the box went inches from the left post.
As time went by, Borussia players played more confident, although they didn’t have some chances.
But one fast counter-attack changes it all. One lost ball in the middle, opened the way to Barca’s goal, Dahoud got the ball on the left side of the box, passed to Thorgan Hazard who elegantly finished, scoring an unexpected goal for the home team.
Everyone was shocked !
Barcelona tried to equalize with Suarez acrobatic shot after Rakitic nicely assisted him, but Sommer saved again. Jordi Alba created space for a 20-meter shot, but he did it like the amateur.
One more counter-attack by Borussia, Rafael took the ball and had a rush for about sixty meters but he was alone in the Barca’s box.
The second half started in the same way, but there was one change, seems to be in the end crucial. Rafael left the game with an injury, and Fabian Johnson replaced him. For some time Borussia controlled the middle, exchanging short passes and played with some cocky style. But that is what Barcelona wanted. Paco Alcacer who was invisible in the whole match replaced Arda Turan. That was the right move by Luis Enrique. Just five minutes later, he scored. Typical Barcelona action, Sergio Busquets to Neymar, in front of the box, and Neymar finds Arda Turan who runs into open space and executes cold-blooded.
From this moment, Barca became more aggressive and they started controlling the game. Suarez had one more shot towards the goal, but directly to Sommer.
74th minute was playing when Neymar centered the ball from corner to the edge of the box, Suarez strikes the volley, hard and low, Sommer just couldn’t handle the ball, and Pique was in the right spot, just putting the ball in the net from close.
Complete turnaround !
Some might say that this is the way it is supposed to be because defensive play that Borussia displayed at their home ground didn’t deserve better, some will say it is not fair because they played tactically perfect. Either way, Barca win, home team lose.
Only one shot on goal was made by Borussia, while Barca had eight. That shows which team played and which team was trying to defend.
Christoph Kramer just couldn’t handle whole midfield by himself. His perfect first half wasn’t enough to stop Barca. Hazard beside goal, whom he scored with help from others, didn’t do anything.
We might say that best player in the home team is Sommer, who held a high level of his performance for the whole match. Without him, Suarez would have scored at least two goals tonight.
Barca’s man of the match, and of the whole game was Suarez. Even if he hasn’t score, he still performed excellent, getting into many chances, setting up Pique’s goal, creating space for others and most important. His pressure on the back line of Borussia eventually cracked them.
Also, we have to mention Arda Turan who changed the pace of the game and changed whole Barca play in the midfield, and of course scoring a goal.
Barca is on top of the group C, after a shocking draw between Celtic and Manchester City.
Borussia is last, behind Celtic, and match up with them next week is crucial for European episode of German team this year.