The Barça goalkeeper made a series of excellent saves as Athletic and Barcelona drew 0-0 in San Mamés.
Athletic Bilbao 0-0 Barcelona: match report
Athletic Club might have accepted a point before the game if it was on offer but the way the game at the San Mames panned out, they might feel like they left Barcelona off the hook. Their gameplan completely disrupted the visitors and aside from a 15 minute spell at the start of the second half, they had them on the rack.
Lionel Messi started even though he continues to struggle through a thigh issue and Ousmane Dembélé was named on the bench. And while Barcelona missed the very best version of Messi although he wasn't helped by placid displays from the likes of Luis Suárez, Arturo Vidal and Philippe Coutinho along with the absence of suspended Jordi Alba.
It was Athletic Club who started better and Yuri Berchciche sent a warning shot across goal early on. They were trying to disrupt Barcelona high but were more than willing to sit back and soak up pressure when required. And that time did come when Messi started to get into his stride.
A bicycle kick from Raul Garcia hit Ter Stegen in the chest, which came after the German showed off his agility to claw a Markel Susaeta curler over the bar. The ball seemed so close to going in for Athletic Club but never did after a succession of corners that saw Ter Stegen punch the ball perilously close to his own goalline.
Barcelona improved after the break and it felt like Athletic Club would have to suffice with the memories of a decent first half as the only thing they could take from the game. But Messi and co., while they had plenty of possession at the start of the second, lacked any sort of a goal threat.
Iker Muniain came on after that initial 17 minute Barcelona burst at the start of the second and turned the game back in Bilbao's favour. He immediately started a counter that saw Mikel San Jose's strike blaze past Ter Stegen's post.
They countered time and time again with Iñaki Williams forcing Clement Lenglet and Sergio Busquets into fouls that resulted in yellow cards and they were growing increasingly worried about the striker's pace. When he did find himself with chances, he was rejected by Ter Stegen. As himself and Muniain linked up, they continued to look more and more dangerous. Sadly for them and the baying masses at the stadium in red and white, Ter Stegen was looking more and more confident that he wouldn't be beaten. And he wasn't during a man of the match performance.
De Marcos saw red for a second yellow after a hand ball on a Barcelona counter but with time running out, they did not have time to make it count.
Athletic Club finished with 10 shots on goal with five on target while Barcelona could only produce 50% of that output with five shots and three on target.
Gaizka Garitano said "Barcelona know we aren't an easy team to play against" in his press conference before the game and they will be leaving San Mames on Sunday night even more concsious of that as they extend their lead at the top of LaLiga to six points, which could have been eight, but was very nearly just five.
Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona live online: match updates
90'+5' GAME OVER!
90'+5' Replay shows there was nothing.
90'+5' VAR! Right at the end. Dani Garcia jumps in on Semedo and the referee goes to blow the whistle but asks for VAR.
90'+4' Suárez jumps up to block the ball and it's a free. He's complaining but quite blatant really.
90'+3' Dembélé twists and turns and strikes. Saved by Herrerin.
90'+3' The ref tells the fourth official he wants another minute added on for that delay.
90'+1' What. It was De Marcos who was yellowed and red carded. Yeray booked for complaining.
90'+1' Yellow for Yeray. He handled the ball as Suárez sent it up the field looking for Dembélé. It was actually De Marcos who handled it.
90'+1' Four minutes of added time.
90' Corner for Athletic Club.
89' Last change for Athletic Club. Kenan Kodro on for Williams.
89' Free sent in and Herrerin goes out to grab or punch but he kind of does neither. Rakitic with a ball in but it was out for a goal kick already. Herrerin grabs an immediately hits the deck. He took a heavy blow when colliding with Pique.
87' Lenglet off for Vermaelen.
86' Williams with another effort. They are having all sorts of luck not in the middle. They've so much room. Williams strikes and Ter Stegen saves.
84' Yeray slides in on Busquets. He nearly amputates his leg. Ball inside and Yeray thought he had a chance but he absolutely takes Busquets out of it.
83' Ball inside by Iñaki and Raul Garcia with the header down into Ter Stegen.
81' What a save. Muniain with the pass inside to Iñaki and he strikes. He probably should have scored that but that's also a really good save. What a chance.
79' 10 minutes left.
79' Lenglet down holding his face. Not sure what happened but he's holding his nose.
79' He heads it away from goal after making contact.
79' Free clipped in and Iñaki misses. How did he miss?
78' Busquets booked now for a foul on Williams. That counter looking more and more dangerous.
76' Dembélé on for Coutinho. Another worringly poor day at the office for him.
75' They're about to bring Dembélé on.
73' Suárez curls one.
72' Free is clipped in and Williams is offside.
70' Muniain sends Iñaki Williams down the left and Lenglet slides, gets the ball and then grabs the attacker. Booked! End of a good attack too.
70' San Jose out to De Marcos. He sends a low cross towards goal and Iñaki tries to backheel it home. Blocked and Barcelona break.
70' Still no breakthrough for Barcelona.
66' Really dodgy defending by Athletic Club. Ball in behind for Roberto and Balenziaga plays the man as he tries to see it out for a goal kick. He's lucky that wasn't a penalty.
65' Counter-attack. Muniain out wide to the right. De Marcos gets it and sends it on to San Jose. What a hit and what a chance! Wide of Ter Stegen's goal.
64' Messi clips one towards goal and beats everyone. Herrerin grabs the ensuing cross from the left and that's straight to Lenglet.
62' Aleña comes on for Vidal.
62' Susaeta off for Muniain.
61' Another foul on Messi as Iñigo obstructs him completely. He wants a card but it's not forthcoming.
60' Messi pokes one forward and Herrerin rushes off his line and grabs it. A chance for a breather for Athletic Club.
59' Beñat off for San Jose.
58' Athletic Bilbao a lot less comfortable now. They can't get the ball up the field at all and that means loads of pressure on their defense. Something has to give.
56' Raul Garcia looks fine.
56' Lenglet and Raul Garcia both down no and need attention. Looks like San Jose will come on for Athletic Club anyway but not sure if either can continue.
55' Garcia launches himself into a tackle now and wins the challenge.
54' Messi into Suárez' path and he takes a tumble. Good tackle though.
53' Messi sends it over the bar. Tame effort by his very, very high standards.
52' Messi cleaved again and Dani Garcia gets a booking. Dangerous spot with Messi on the field too. Perfect for him to shoot.
52' Just before that, Messi has a case for a free just outside the box as Martínez catches him late. Really, really unlucky.
51' Semedo taken out of it by De Marcos.
50' A perfect pass for Messi to Sergi Roberto. He sends it across goal first time and it's blocked by Athletic Club. They're all over the hosts to start this half.
49' Messi clips it in as it was too far out and too far to the right to shoot. Vidal heads it up into the air and Coutinho shot is blocked.
49' Messi with a free outside the box instead.
48' Suárez headers down and there's a handball. Ref says no as the offending player had his hands by his sides. They want VAR. De Marcos the man who might have been done for it but wasn't.
46' Can't be long before we see Dembélé if this continues though.
46' We ar eback underway and no changes for either side.
45'+1' HALF-TIME! That was loads of fun! More of the same please.
45' Lovely ball over the top and it's out for a corner.
44' Coutinho threads one through to Suárez but Iñigo Martínez cuts it out and clears for a corner.
43' Lenlget with a foul on Iñaki as the striker takes control and feels contact in the back and an arm over his shoulder.
42' Messi with a nutmeg and strike, the old Messi combo. His left-footed curler is blocked though because usually that combo comes with the goal included!
41' Raul Garcia wants a corner. He shoots and it's wide but it's quite obviously a corner as the deflection was obvious. Not given though. Garcia told to relax by the referee.
40' Beñat scythes down Rakitic and is lucky not to be booked.
39' A look back at that last ball into the box and Iñaki might have been lucky he didn't give away a penalty. He handled the ball and while he didn't know much about it, it was fairly clear.
37' Barcelona break and Messi out on the right gets it. He drive s a shot with his left and it bounces off Herrerin's chest and out for a corner. Really dangerous shot that had plenty of venom on it.
34' Yeray goes through Luis Suárez. Sore one on his calf. Free for Barcelona.
33' Lenglet whistled for going through Raul Garcia. The attacking midfielder never shy of selling a foul.
31' Sergi Roberto gives the ball away and then Barcelona win it back. Athletic Club think they did it illegally but the referee says no. They attack down the left and the ball has too much pace on it for Semedo.
29' Suárez muscles Yuri out of it. Goal kick for Barcelona. Free would have been harsh.
28' Headed up by Yeray and out. But it caught a Barcelona player and it's another corner.
28' Yuri fouled by Sergi Roberto and Athletic Club have a free from a nice spot.
27' Another corner for Athletic Club. Only aimed towards the front post though and it's headed clear.
26' Brilliant from Messi. Messi plays Semedo in and Herrerin rushes out and gets some of the ball. It rolls to Messi, who chips it from way out and towards an open goal. Hits the crossbar and over. What a chance.
24' WHAT A CHANCE! Chilena from Raul Garcia. Barcelona look rattled. He flicks it up to himself and the technique was perfect. Saved by Ter Stegen.
23' Iñaki breaks into the penalty area but has no options. He tries a pass inside with a couple of Barca defenders in his face and loses it. Nice attack but no shot, which they'll be disappointed with.
22' Ball crossed in from the right from Messi. Lovely pass with his left and Suárez can't direct his header towards goal.
20' Athletic Club try to break and they nearly manage a nice attack before Yuri is turned upside down and has the ball stolen from him. Barcelona on the march upfield now.
19' Messi settles for the corner.
18' Corner comes in and it's right down on top of Ter Stegen. He punches it but it slides off his gloves and almost into his own net. Anothe corner. Athletic Club with another chance. They're all sorts of fired up for this one and troubling Barcelona.
17' Susaeta gets the ball from Williams. He cuts onto his left and forces a marvellous save from Ter Stegen. Corner for Athletic Club.
16' Herrerin with a clearance and Suárez blocks it. Ball goes off his foot and wide.
16' Athletic continue their lively start and haven't really let Barcelona settle.
15' Susaeta in behind and Semedo covers but the headed ball into his path sees him offside anyway.
13' De Marcos cross is blocked and they win a throw.
12' He clips it towards Suárez and he's offside.
12' Barcelona break and Messi's pass is blocked. Semedo taken down and Messi stands over the free. Way too far out for him to shoot. We have said that before and been proven wrong but this is like 50 yards!
11' Really good effort from Yuri as he races down the left and has a bit of space. He launches a left foot at it and strikes just wide. Not far off at all.
9' Yeray and Semedo clash as the latter finds some space down the left. He has a busy night ahead of him in that Alba role. Corner for Barcelona as the Athletic Club defender slides in and puts it out. Subsequent corner is headed clear.
9' Sergi Roberto fouled by Yuri out on the right-hand side and Barelona play it back and start again.
8' Coutinho looks for Sergi Roberto over the top but it's way too far ahead of him and out for a goal-kick.
7' Long ball down to Iñaki and he can't control it. Out for a goal kick but Athletic showing plenty of ambition to get the ball forward whenever they can.
6' Rakitic out to Semedo and the ball is taken off him. Athletic win the throw.
5' Messi with a ball over the top looking for Semedo but it's headed out. The game has settled into what we imagined it would look like. Athletic Club sitting back as Barcelona pass it around at the back and in the middle.
4' Iñaki holding plenty of the ball so far. Barcelona not really started great but just as I type that, they win it back and assess the terrain before them.
3' Headed out from the corner by Barcelona. Nice delivery though.
3' Iñaki Williams takes the ball down inside the area and wins a corner.
1' We are underway at San Mames.
Iñaki Williams picks up his player of the month award for January. Three goals in the first month of 2019 but none since.
Minutes away from kick-off now at San Mames.
Kenan Kodro has been called up for the first time since his deadline day move from Copenhagen. He could slot in at striker if necessary.
Garitano says "we are not an easy team and Barcelona know it."
Aduriz and Lekue out injured for Athletic Club as their options at striker are thing. Capa is suspended.
Semedo will play as left-back in place of the suspended Jordi Alba.
Arthur has a chance in Arthur's absence but it means Busquets or Rakitic can't be rested.
Messi, of course, is back but his muse isn't as he's suspended. Jordi Alba is "irreplacable" according to El Pais. Messi has not lost one of his 23 games against Athletic Bilbao though.
Yuri being deployed in an attacking left midfield role in a 4-2-3-1. Iñaki is the main striker and Susaeta out on the right. Raul García in the middle as always to disrupt whoever he can.
Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen, Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Sergi Roberto, Busquets, Rakitic, Vidal, Messi, Coutinho, Suárez.
Athletic Bilbao XI: Herrerín, De Marcos, Yeray, Íñigo Martínez, Balenziaga, Beñat, Dani García, Susaeta, Raúl García, Yuri, Iñaki Williams
Barcelona can go eight clear at the top with a win, Athletic Club can go six clear of the relegation zone with a win!
Welcome to our live coverage of Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona from San Mames. Kick-off from Bilbao is at 20:45 CET.
Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona live online: preview
It's always a special fixture and a fiery one at that. Athletic Club have improved massively in recent weeks since Eduardo Berizzo was replaced by Gaizka Garitano and while Barça are looking to improve their lead at the top of the table to eight points, they are coming off a Clásico and might want to keep a returning Messi and Dembéle for bigger games. Kick-off from San Mames is at 20:45 CET.
Garitano has improved Athletic Bilbao so much that they have only lost once in his eight LaLiga games in charge. That result came in the Basque derby against Real Socieda last week and while that run is impressive, there have been a number of uninspiring draws wedged into that list against Alavés, Real Valladolid and Villarreal. Their good run has also coincide with some other strange results and they currently sit just three points above the danger zone. The last time Athletic took anything from a game against Barcelona was in Setpember 2018, the last time they played, but before that, they hadn't done it since December 2013. It was also the first time in seven games Athletic Club had scored against them. Iñaki Williams has seven goals this season but is goalless in three and will need to find the net again if they are to upset Barcelona's march to the title.
Lionel Messi is back in the squad and Ousmane Dembélé has also been given the all clear after a dose of tonsilits. Malcom was excellent against Real Madrid in the Clásico and competition in attack is ramping up with Ernesto Valverde facing a headache when team selection time rolls around. That being said, Coutinho might have played himself off the team in recent weeks with his performance in the Clásico certainly not helping his cause. The manager says "Messi will start if he's okay," but that's all we know. Arthur, Rafinha, Cillessen and Umtiti all remain out injured with questions over who started in Arthur's stead while Lenglet looks set to continue in Umtiti's place. Jordi Alba is suspended for the game.