Messi, Suarez power Barcelona into Champions League round of 16

Borussia Dortmund's fate is not in its hands on the final matchday of the Champions League group stage after a 3-1 loss away to Barcelona.

Barcelona duo Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi   -  Getty Images

Lionel Messi starred on his 700th appearance for the club as Barcelona comfortably beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 at home to progress to the knockout rounds of the Champions League.

Barcelona already topped Group F but has confirmed its place in the next phase as pool winner, with Dortmund's fate no longer in its own hands on the closing matchday.

Luis Suarez scored from Messi's pass to open the scoring at Camp Nou on Wednesday and then turned provider for the skipper as Barca scored twice in the space of five first-half minutes.

Messi, reportedly set to win a sixth Ballon d'Or next week, added a second assist to a typically glittering individual display by setting up Antoine Griezmann to seal matters after the break with substitute Jadon Sancho firing home late on for Dortmund.

Nico Schulz almost scored a second-minute opener for Dortmund but found Marc-Andre ter Stegen equal to his effort with Messi then unusually wasteful from a free-kick at the other end.

Suarez was flagged offside after converting Messi's throughball but the same combination led to the opener in the 29th minute, the Uruguay striker coolly converting.

 

Messi added a second, an arrowed finish from Suarez's pass, with Barca bursting into life after ex-Dortmund forward Ousmane Dembele had to be replaced by Griezmann due to a thigh injury.

Under-fire Dortmund boss Lucien Favre sent on Sancho at the break and Messi was then booked for diving by referee Clement Turpin after going down easily in the box.

Ter Stegen saved from Julian Brandt on the hour and that miss proved key as Barca broke clinically, Messi sending Griezmann clear to slot home his first Champions League goal for the club. 

Sancho smashed home a super strike to give Dortmund a consolation, but it must better Inter's result at home to Barcelona when the Bundesliga side faces Slavia Prague at home next month.


What does it mean? Dortmund's problems mount

It is now 10 goals conceded in three games in all competitions for Dortmund, which would likely have lost by a greater scoreline had Barcelona kept its foot on the throttle.

Ernesto Valverde called for perspective over Barca's own issues before the game and with his team top of La Liga and into the next round, he might have a point. He can point to the biggest competitive crowd of the season to answer his critics, too.


Mesmerising Messi leads Barca again

Barcelona did not get going until after Dembele's latest injury, with Messi taking the game by the scruff of the neck. Within just a few minutes he had created two goals for Suarez, though one was chalked off, and scored one of his own to put the game beyond Dortmund before later setting up Griezmann and hitting the crossbar with a free-kick. 

He only hit top form for that brief period in the first half, but it was enough to win the points for Barca, though a rare booking for simulation was a bum note on a performance that saw him set yet another record. Messi has now scored against 34 opponents in the Champions League, one more than Raul and old rival Cristiano Ronaldo.


Favre on the brink

Dortmund coach Favre named a strange lineup with four full-backs included and star man Sancho on the bench, with his side quickly overrun in midfield after a bright start.

A 4-0 Klassiker thrashing away to Bayern Munich recently piled pressure on Favre and his position is even more insecure after another one-sided defeat.


What's next?

Dortmund is away to Jurgen Klinsmann's Hertha Berlin on Saturday, the day before Barcelona is away to Atletico Madrid in a huge La Liga clash. On the last day of the Champions League group stage on December 10, Barca goes to Inter and Dortmund hosts Slavia.

Inter comes through

Inter's Champions League fate is in its own hands after Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku inspired a 3-1 win at Slavia Prague on Wednesday.

Martinez's crisp finish put Inter ahead before it saw a second goal chalked off and Slavia instead awarded a penalty, which Tomas Soucek converted to tee up a draw that would do little for either side.

But late strikes from the outstanding Lukaku and Martinez secured the precious points for Inter as it bids to reach the knockout stage.

Antonio Conte's men are second in Group F on seven points, ahead of third-placed Borussia Dortmund on head-to-head.

Inter will qualify if they beat Barcelona in a mammoth San Siro showdown on matchday six, while Dortmund host now-eliminated Slavia and hope for a Nerazzurri slip-up.

  Dugout videos