A few takeaways from a hard-fought victory in Germany
Barcelona are still yet to drop points in the Champions League group stage after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach in Germany. The Blaugrana didn’t have a great game, but never stopped believing and scored two second half goals to earn a vital victory.
Here’s a few takeaways from what we saw at Borussia-Park:
1 – Barça CAN win playing badly
For the longest time, Barça would have poor performances and just couldn’t dig deep and find a way to win. Wednesday showed that the team actually CAN pull off tough victories, and that’s a huge thing. It shows character, will to win and a desire to keep chasing a result even though the usual methods that lead to victories aren’t working. This fighting spirit and determination was one of Luis Enrique’s best qualities as a player, and he translated that into his coaching style. Barça play such beautiful football most of the time that we forget how gritty this team is. But when push comes to shove, they’ll fight hard and win.
2 – Paco Alcácer needs time, maybe lots of it
The summer signing started for the first time in the Champions League, and he had a tough time, playing poorly for 50 minutes until he was replaced by Rafinha. Paco struggled to fully understand Lucho’s instructions and looked lost sometimes. He worked hard and moved a lot without the ball, but that isn’t enough. He has to improve, and he will, but that might take quite a while to happen. Of all the signings, he’ll take the longest to adapt because a forward in Barça’s system is different than in any other team. Plus, he has to deal with the pressure of replacing one of the ‘MSN’ members every time he steps on the pitch, and he might struggle with that. But as the Arda Turan Saga clearly shows, a talented player who works eventually finds his spot on the team. Lucho never gave up on Arda, and he won’t give up on Paco either. Let’s just give him time.
3 – Gerard Piqué is incredible
Every time we try to forget Geri in the “best defender in the world” conversation, he puts himself back in the talk. Forget the game-winning goal that rescued the team on Wednesday and Piqué still had a masterful performance on defense. His awareness and sense of anticipation are amazing, and he’s as good as any center-back on Earth to stop players in one-on-one situations. He isn’t fast by any means, but he’s really freaking smart. And really freaking good. The best in the world.