Bengaluru, September 17: La Liga champions Barcelona will hope to prove that they can dominate despite the absence of their talisman Lionel Messi when they take on Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League opener.
Ernesto Valverde's injury-plagued side, inspired by 16-year-old wonderkid Ansu Fati, thrashed Valencia 5-2 at the Camp Nou, while Dortmund will head into Tuesday's contest full of confidence following an impressive 4-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga on Saturday (September 14).
Both Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona will be looking to start their Champions League group-stage campaigns with a win when the two giants of Europe lock horns at Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday (September 17).
The two teams have been drawn into Group F alongside Inter Milan and Slavia Prague, and it is shaping up to be a very interesting battle to secure the top two positions in the potential group of death.
Here are three key battles that could decide the game:
Luis Suarez vs Mats Hummels
Luis Suarez returned from injury against Valencia and was back with a bang scoring twice in just 30 minutes after he came off the bench. The Uruguayan superstar has certainly seen a dip in form, but with Lionel Messi missing through an injury, expectations will be high from Suarez against a strong side like Borussia Dortmund.
Mats Hummels, just like Suarez, has also declined but still a key member of the Dortmund side thanks to his immense experience especially in Europe. This individual battle will have a big say in the outcome of the game.
Marco Reus vs Sergio Busquets
Marco Reus has reinvented himself as a number ten switching from the wide areas and his transition has seen him become even more dangerous and more involved in the game. The German international is the most experienced player in the Dortmund attack and he will be marked strongly by the Barcelona midfield dynamo Sergio Busquets. This will be a battle that could very well decide the outcome of the game.
Paco Alcacer vs Gerard Pique
Former Barcelona striker Paco Alcacer has managed to find his form back since joining Borussia Dortmund and has seven goals in six games already this campaign. The Spaniard was wasted for a long time at Camp Nou and he has what it takes to hurt his former employers. Gerard Pique will have the task to stop his former teammate and Barcelona will hope that their star defender comes out on top.