The result ended Barcelona’s run of 37 league games where it scored at least one goal. Its last league game without a goal was a 0-0 draw with Getafe on February 11, 2018.
Barcelona has now drawn three games in a row and is showing signs of fatigue as the season enters a critical phase. It was held 2-2 by Valencia in the last round and drew 1-1 with Real Madrid in its Copa del Rey first-leg semifinal on Wednesday.
The defending league champion left San Mames Stadium six points ahead of Madrid, which is hitting its stride and moved past Atletico Madrid into second place by winning the capital derby on Saturday.
Ter Stegen made one-handed saves to deny Markel Susaeta and Inaki Williams in each half.
“I had to stop both of them, one way or another,” Ter Stegen said.
The Germany goalkeeper did all he could and then some to turn away Susaeta’s long, dipping strike in the 17th minute that looked goal-bound until Ter Stegen leapt back toward his far post and stretched up to palm the ball over the bar. He added a fine reflex stab to parry Williams’ close-range shot in the 82nd. He also had two more routine saves to stop Raul Garcia’s bicycle kick and another late effort by Williams.
“You have to play very well to take a point from Barcelona, but the best chances were for us,” said Bilbao coach Gaizka Garitano, who has turned the Basque Country club around after taking over in December. “Ter Stegen was outstanding. They have a great goalkeeper who made two excellent saves.” Lionel Messi returned to Barcelona’s starting line-up after playing just the final half-hour against Madrid midweek. Messi had been doubtful for that cup match after an unspecified leg injury picked up against Valencia. Messi provided Luis Suarez with a well-placed cross that the striker was unable to connect with in the 22nd.