?The waiting is over and the Champions League proper starts again on Tuesday night, with Europe’s biggest, best and most thrilling competition kicking off with some intriguing fixtures.
Desperate to exercise the ghosts of remontadas past, Barcelona travel to Dortmund to begin their European campaign. Lionel Messi looks like he may just be fit to play his first game of the season, much to the Germans’ dismay. However, Lucien Favre’s hosts look stronger than last year with some smart summer business, a red-hot Paco Alcacer returning to face his old club and more gametime under Jadon Sancho’s belt.
It looks set to be a cracker in Germany but how much do you know about the game?
Want some lucky omens to help predict the winner, some betting advice, or just stats to impress your mates down the pub with your anorak-ian knowledge? Well, with a little help from Opta, we’ve got you covered…
Barcelona have only faced Borussia Dortmund twice in their history?
Goals from Rivaldo, Luis Enrique and Giovanni secured a 2-1 win and a 1-1 draw in the two-legged 1997 UEFA Super Cup final?
This will be Messi’s first trip to the Westfalenstadion??#LLL
— La Liga Lowdown ????? (@LaLigaLowdown) September 17, 2019
Surprisingly, given both clubs’ European pedigree, this will be only the third meeting between ?Dortmund and ?Barcelona in a competitive match.
The previous two came in the 1997/98 European Super Cup, with Barcelona winning 3-1 on aggregate. Former manager Luis Enrique scored in that affair.
Group Stage Bullies
Barcelona, as you might expect, are pretty formidable in the ?Champions League group stages and are unbeaten in their last 14 (W10 D4) and have lost just one of their last 28 at this stage of the competition. That defeat you ask? Away at Manchester City back in November 2016.
Home or Away?
If Barça have one weakness, however, it’s playing on the road. 16 of the club’s last 17 Champions League defeats have come in away games.
That’s good news for hosts but, less encouragingly, ?
Lionel Messi has scored against 32 of the 37 different opponents that he’s faced in the Champions League with Barcelona but has never scored (or even faced) Dortmund. Should he score on Tuesday, Messi would equal the competition record of different teams scored against, set by Raul (33 clubs).
Messi has scored 16 goals in 14 Champions League appearances against German clubs and scored against all five German teams that he’s previously faced: Bayer Leverkusen (7), Bayern Munich (4), Stuttgart (3), Borussia Mönchengladbach (1) and Werder Bremen (1).
Good luck with that Dortmund!
For more pre-match content see here for our full ?match preview and ?combined XI.