Barcelona 4-0 Borussia Monchengladbach: Match report
Barcelona squeezed Gladbach for the full ninety minutes and didn't allow the German side a shot on target as they returned to the possession-based football that served them so well for the last decade. Despite Luis Enrique making eight changes to the side that took on Real Madrid, they routed their Group C opponents in every way.
Lionel Messi opened the scoring in the first half but Arda Turan stole the show with a second half hat-trick. His first would come via his head after good work from Denis Suarez down the right hand side. The second just three minutes later was a lovely move that involved Messi, who played a weighted pass to Vidal, and Vidal, who pulled the ball back before Turan slotted home beyond a helpless Yann Sommer.
If the game wasn't over at that point, it was 14 minutes later when Turan completed his hat-trick after good work by Alcacer to put it on a plate for him to score again despite Sommer trying to get his body behind it. Gladbach huffed and puffed but they could not make any inroads against a stout Barcelona defense and when they did break, Cillessen was off his line and foiling them at every turn.
Barcelona completed the group stage of the Champions League with just one blip against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City when they lost 3-1. While it won't be easy to erase the memories of Sergio Ramos' late equaliser against them in El Clásico on Saturday, this was a decent way to start as they passed their German opponents off the park and go through as Group C winners.
Barcelona 4-0 Borussia Monchengladbach: Second half
Nice stat from Opta. Arda Turan is the third Turkish player to score a UCL hat-trick, but the first to do it for a non-Turkish team.
Min 88 | Andre Hahn is the most frustrated man in Barcelona tonight. He is outpaced yet again by the lightening quick Umtiti and he tries to push him in the back but can't even push him hard enough to impede the central defender.
Min 85 | Hahn in a foot race with Umtiti but the Frenchman gets there first and plays it back to Cillessen. He ever so calmly dinks the ball out to Digne.
Min 84 | Raffael on the ball now but he can't get beyond Mascherano. He has played with fire tonight but the Argentine defender has been as solid as a rock.
Min 81 | Raffael gets the ball to Johnson, who is one-on-one with the Cillessen. He rounds the Dutch keeper and then ballons a cross beyond anyone. Very poor and a chance that has gone a-begging.
Min 80 | Andre Gomes with a controlled performance tonight. Not quite Sergio Busquets levels of good but still a capable performance. Messi has been magnificent but quiet in the second half while Arda Turan answered critics with a man of the match performance.
Min 78 | Hahn breaks again and gets the ball to Fabian Johnson but Mascherano arrives on the scene to save the day.
Min 77 | Barcelona continue to push and it might be a good chance for Alcacer to get on the scoresheet. Has been quiet again but continues to work hard.
Arda Turan is replaced Cardona, who played well against Hercules in the Copa del Rey during his brief cameo.
Min 73 | Messi with a diving header but Sommer gets down and gets a strong hand to the ball to turn it away.
Gladbach make their last change as Raffael comes on for Thorgan Hazard. Nothing went right for the Belgian tonight.
Min 70 | Gladbach well and truly out on their a feet now as Barcelona just passing them off the park.
Min 67 | GOAL! Arda turan with a hat-trick as Alcacer centres it to the Turkish midfielder and he finishes despite the best efforts of Yann Sommer.
Replays suggest that Mascherano was indeed very luck as he slid in carelessly.
Min 65 | Mascherano very, very close to giving away a penalty. He seemed to have clipped Hahn as he was winding up to shoot. Referee says no.
My apologies if I am being harsh on Gladbach tonight. To be fair, when Barcelona are in this kind of form, they are simply untouchable. Still teetering above 70% possession. The best form of defending is attack!
Min 62 | Gladbach with a rare sight at goal but Umtiti wins it back.
Min 61 | Iniesta goes off to a standing ovation as he hands the captain's armband to Lionel Messi. Rafinha on to take his place.
Min 58 | The wait goes on. Alcacer put through by Iniesta but his left footed shot is repelled by Sommer. 545+ minutes now without a goal.
Min 54 | GOAL! Where has this Barcelona been? Messi with a delicious pass to Vidal, who pulls the ball back to Turan and the Turk slots home with a lovely daisy-cutter.
That goal has to force Gladbach's hand now.
Min 50 | GOAL! Denis Suarez makes his way down the right, crosses the ball before it takes a deflection right onto the head of Arda Turan and he heads home from close range. Good finish!
Min 49 | Gladbach certainly looking more lively to start the second half. A corner is whipped in but evades everyone and makes its way to a Barcelona player at the edge of the square.
Min 46 | Right, here we go! Let's see if Gladbach get a move on in the second half and try to attack Barcelona.
Barcelona 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach: Half-time report
Luis Enrique made eight changes to the side that drew with Real Madrid on Saturday and while Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Javier Mascherano are on the field, the younger Barcelona generation are doing enough to stiffle any Gladbach challenge. They are enjoying over 70% possession and have three shots on target to the German side's zero.
Lionel Messi opened the scoring after 16 minutes when he combined well with the lively Arda Turan, who is operating on the left of the front three, as the Turk pulled the ball back to Messi. The Argentine made no mistake as he curled home with his left foot to give the home side a deserved lead. There were chances after that involving Messi with a shot from distance and an identical move involving Vidal and Messi (again!) from the right hand side but Gladbach were lucky to get away with just one goal being conceded in the first 45.
Gladbach are sitting back in an effort to win the ball back deep and counter, which is excellent in theory but their inability to trouble Barcelona in possession, and the fact that they can't string a pass together when they do win it, is proving to be their main downfall. Andre Schubert will have to change tact if they are to escape here with even a point.
Barcelona 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach: First half
HT - The teams make their way to the dressing room for their half-time cup of tea.
Min 44 | Iniesta finds Messi with a neat little pass as the Argentine beats a defender and threads it to Denis Suarez. Suarez' nutmeg is foiled by a Foal and Gladbach clear. I looked away for two second though and Barcelona are back in possession!
Min 43 | Gladbach living on the edge. Aleix Vidal pulls the ball back for Messi but it hits a raft of bodies before going out for a corner.
Min 42 | Barcelona looking for number two as Iniesta finds Digne, who launches a cross from the left.
Jurgen Klopp has brought his Liverpool side to the Nou Camp tonight as a team bonding exercise. After they fell apart against Bournemouth on Sunday, it might be just what the doctor ordered!
Min 37 | Andre Hahn goes down in a tangle with Mascherano but the referee, rightly, waves it away. Still very little sign of Gladbach getting into this game.
Min 31 | Gladbach with a rare feel of the ball but Thorgan Hazard gives it away cheaply and it is as you were - Barcelona attacking and the German side dropping deep as they tremble with fear.
Min 29 | Gladbach with 'backs to the wall' stuff here with just under a half an hour gone.
Min 27 | Turan forces a save from Sommer with a shot from outside the box. Some very sloppy football from Gladbach that led up to that. They were enjoying a game of pinball just outside their penalty area.
Min 25 | Iniesta swings his left foot at a loose ball but it skids well wide.
Min 23 | Andre Schubert is off his bench and issuing instructions to his Gladbach players. He doesn't seem happy with what he is seeing on the field. Barcelona in full control now.
Min 22 | Suarez and Vidal link up well yet again down the right hand side but Vidal's cross can't find a teammate.
Min 19 | Messi tries to bend one around Sommer but it is deflected out for a corner by the goalkeeper.
Barcelona currently enjoying over 70% of possession so far.
Min 16 | GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! Messi finishes from a Turan cross. That is his 10th goal in the Champions League this season and number 93 in his career. Just two behind Ronaldo now.
Min 15 | Denis Suarez looks for Paco Alcacer but it is too long for the striker, Alcacer is offside in any case.
Min 13 | Barcelona clean through and turan squares it to Messi, but the ball glides past him as he fails to make contact. Barcelona looking dangerous.
Min 12 | Andre Hahn caught offside again. Marginal call but the linesman looks to have this one right!
Min 11 | Suarez again tries a cross but it can only get as far as Jantschke, who clears again. Barcelona back in possession again though.
Min 8 | Denis Suarez invokes his inner Iniesta with a tempting through ball to Aleix Vidal. The right-back tries to bend one around the Gladbach defense but it is cleared. Good move by the home side.
Min 6 | Messi plays Turan through on the left but his chipped cross is easily cleared by Gladbach. They probably should have done better there.
Min 3 | Barcelona get out of jail early as Gladbach break and get called for offside. Replay shows that Andre Hahn was being kept onside by Javier Mascherano.
Min 2 | This is going to be a long night for Gladbach if the first two minutes are anything to go by. Barcelona haven't let them touch the ball. Andre Gomes with a few early touches in the "Busquets role".
Min 1 | Here we go! Sergei Karasev blows the whistle and Alcacer gets us underway.
Barcelona - Borussia Monchengladbach: Team news
Barcelona XI: Cillessen, Vidal, Umtiti, Mascherano, Digne, Denis, Gomes, Arda, Iniesta, Messi, Alcácer.
Borussia Monchengladbach: Sommer, Christensen, Vestergaard, Strobl, Dahoud, Hazard, N. Schulz, Jantschke, Korb, Hahn, Elvedi.
Barcelona - Borussia Monchengladbach: Live build-up
20:42 | Lionel Messi (9) has almost double the amount of goals any other player in the Champions League has. Edinson Cavani is on five and Riyah Mahrez, Mesut Ozil and Robert Lewandowski have four.
20:35 | Neymar is suspended for tonight's game and Barcelona's trip to Osasuna. It might give him a chance to recover from an injury he is struggling with but Barcelona are playing down fears that the injury is of any significance.
20:26 | Some Gladbach news as Alvaro Dominguez announces his retirement from football at the age of 27. Sounds like the man was living with constant pain from injuries he had suffered for the last couple of years.
20:23 | Messi needs eight goals against Gladbach tonight to reach 100 Champions League goals during his career. Can he dot it? With any other football in the world we would say impossible but Messi is something other than human.
20:18 | Is your significant other a Spanish football fan? Here is our top 10 gifts for the Spanish football lover in your life!
20:15 | Can Arda repeat his performance against Gladbach the last time out? He scored his one and only goal in the Champions League for Barca that night.
20:11 | Mascherano will play in his 300th game for Barcelona tonight against Gladbach.
20:07 | Forget MSN, tonight Barcelona will go with Alcacer, Turan and Messi - ATM - and Enrique will be hoping they're money in the bank!
20:04 | Andre Gomes starts his fourth Champions League game for Barcelona tonight. He was on the bench for the game against Gladbach in Germany. He has a real chance tonight and will most likely play in Sergio Busquets' role. No pressure then!
20:02 | And not it is time for your German lesson for today. Gladbach's nickname, The Fohlen Elf, means The Foals Eleven or The Eleven Foals.
19:59 | Messi will make appearence number 549 for Barcelona, moving into fourth place on the all-time list.
19:53 | It might be a dead rubber for Barcelona but Gladbach need a win and Luis Enrique will do everything in his power to get his Barcelona side back on track tonight. A fourth game without a win would be disasterous.
19:42 | Plenty to chew on with the announcement of Enrique's team. Arda Turan starts despite being criticised for giving away the free that led to Sergio Ramos' goal on Saturday. Aleix Vidal also starts as he is given another chance to reignite his Barca career. Paco Alcacer is also given a chance to net his first Barcelona goal since his summer move.
19:35 | We just checked the temperature and it is a nippy 14 degrees in Barcelona and the weather is "clear with periodic clouds." Will there be a silver lining on the clouds that have started to gather around the Camp Nou in recent weeks?
19:20 | Bojan Krcic's father says Barcelona rejected the chance to sign Luke Modric before he moved to Tottenham Hotspur. What a kick in the teeth!?
18:42 | Barcelona will rest Gerard Pique tonight along with Ter Stegen while Neymar and Rakitic are suspended. Possibly a good chance for Andre Gomes to put himself in Luis Enrique's plans going forward.
18:37 | Neymar leads the assists chart with 7 after five games. Ousmane Dembele is second on four assists along with Benfica's Eduardo Salvio.
18:27 | Barcelona have won 12 of their last 13 home games against German teams in the Champions League. The only one they lost was in May 2013 against Bayern Munich. Gerard Pique picked himself up an own goal in that game with Robben and Muller scoring the other two. They lost 0-7 on aggregate.
18:00 | Mönchengladbach have never won the European Cup / Champions League, but they were runners-up in 1976-77, when Liverpool won the final 3-1 in the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. The goalscorer for Gladbach that night, Allan Simonsen, would go on to play for Barcelona before making a shock switch to Charlton Athletic, then in the English second division, after the arrival of Diego Maradona at Camp Nou in 1982.
17:30 | Players who won't be on the pitch tonight through suspension: Neymar and Ivan Rakitic for Barcelona and Lars Stindl for Mönchengladbach.
17:00 | Just a reminder of our handy guide to where you can watch this evening's match.
16:30 | Messi made history against Gladbach back in 2012, when he became the first player in history to score five goals in a single Champions League game as Barça crushed the Bundesliga side 7-1.
16:00 | Luis Enrique's side have been struggling at Camp Nou of late, with the venerable stadium no longer a fortress for the five-times European champions. However, Barça's home record in this season's competition isn't too bad: a 7-0 thrashing of Celtic and a 4-0 humbling of Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.
15:30 | How did Gladbach get on at the weekend in the Bundesliga ahead of tonight's game? Our round-up of the weekend's action featuring Champions League teams is here.
15:00 | Looking for a Spanish football related gift for Christmas? Look no further!
14:15 | One man set to start tonight is Leo Messi, a man with a mission in the Chamnpions League
13:15 | The 2016 Ballon D'Or winner is set to be announced on Monday. Will a certain Barça player feature?
12:30 | Both Neymar and Pique sat out yesterday's FCB training session.
11:30 | Good morning and welcome to our build-up ahead of this evening's final matchday of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League group stage as FC Barcelona welcome Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach to Camp Nou.
Barcelona - Borussia Monchengladbach: match preview
With positions in Group C already resolved, tonight's game does provide Luis Enrique's men with an excellent opportunity to recover some self-esteem following two poor back to back LaLiga performances’ against Real Sociedad and Real Madrid. A win also would secure a further 1.5 million euro injection into the bank account of the Catalan club against a rival struggling at the wrong end of the German Bundesliga.
Three consecutive LaLiga draws (against Malaga, Real Sociedad and Madrid) coupled with a lackustlre Copa del Rey performance away to 2B outfit Hercules have the alarm bells ringing at Camp Nou and not for the first time in his tenure as Barcelona coach, questions are being raised about Luis Enrique within certain sections of the 'Azulgrana' fan base.
Despite the Asturian coach opting to field a side with many secondary squad players, the starting XI at Camp Nou should have no problem in seeing off a Borussia side who have already tied up third place in Group C and a subsequent place in next Monday's Europa League draw in Nyon.
Talisman Andres Iniesta is back for the Catalan giants and his presence in Saturday's drab El Clásico was of balsamic nature for a team who are in danger of losing their footballing identity. The player from La Mancha is expected to line up in a three man midfield alongside Dennis Suarez and Andre Gomes with the Portuguese player cited by many as a natural heir to Iniesta's throne still yet to convince at his new club.
Anything but a win, and a convincing one at that will see an increase in anxiety levels at the club as they watch eternal rivals Real Madrid jet off to Japan to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup.
Borussia head coach Andre Schubert admitted in yesterday's pre match press conference that "all is not well" with his side. Monchengladbach come into tonight's game on the back of a 4-1 corrective at Signal Iduna Park as the other Bundesliga Borussia (that of Dortmund) had no problem in seeing off their rivals from the Rhine and indeed Die Fohlen Elf have yet to record a domestic league win since the end of October.
Borussia midfielder Andre Hahn was more optimistic and claimed that the German side came into tonight's game full of positivity and belief that they could secure a good result in the Catalan capital.
The German's will look to the attacking prowess of Dahoud and creativity of Thorgan Hazard (brother of Chelsea's Eden) to try and accentuate the current dip in the fortunes of the Barcelona side.
Barcelona - Borussia Monchengladbach: expected starting line-ups
Barça XI: Cilessen, Vidal, Umtiti, Mascherano, Iniesta, Messi, Digne, Gomes, Denis Suarez, Alcacer, Rafinha,
Borussia XI: Sommer, Christensen, Strobl, Elvedi, Wendt, Korb, Hahn, Kramer, Raffael, Dahoud, Hazard
Barcelona - Borussia Monchengladbach: live match build-up
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