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Joint training session with the reserves

Claudio Bravo in training / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
The first training session of the week takes place without the 14 players who are away on international duty

After two days of rest following Saturday’s 1-0 win over Malaga, the Barça team returned to work on Tuesday. With 14 players away on international duty, the remaining first team players trained with the reserves at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper.

It is expected that the team will train again on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Meanwhile, the reserves are preparing for Saturday’s league match against Espanyol B.

Former FC Barcelona players in the Champions League groups

Pedro, Alexis, Guardiola and Lopetegui  / FCB
Fifteen players and six managers will compete in the competition who have passed through the Catalan club

The Champions League group stage will get under way in September, with FC Barcelona kicking off on the 16th away to AS Roma. The competition will include 15 players and six coaches with a Barça past.

21 names spread over 12 different clubs out of the 32 that will contest this opening phase of the tournament. We take a look at them group by group.

Keita and Iago in Barça’s group

FC Barcelona were drawn in Group E last Thursday in Monaco alongside Bayer Leverkusen, Roma and BATE Borisov. Luis Enrique’s team open their group fixtures with a trip to Italy where they could come up against former blaugranes Seydou Keita and Iago Falqué in the Olympic Stadium in Rome. Belarussians BATE have Alexander Hleb in their ranks, the midfielder was a Barça player between 2008 and 2012.

Strong Barça flavour in Group F

This group is the one with the greatest presence of former blaugrana names. Premier League side Arsenal finished third in the league last season and have ex-Barça players Héctor Bellerín and Alexis Sánchez in their squad. Also in the group are Bayern Munich side coached by former FC Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola and also containing ex-blaugrana Thiago Alcántara. Defender Alberto Botía made one appearance for the Barça first team in 2009 and now plies his trade at Olympiacos in Greece, also in group F. The quartet of teams is rounded off by Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb.

Group G also has some names from the past at FC Barcelona. At Chelsea we find Cesc Fàbregas and Pedro amongst the playing staff and José Mourinho as coach. The current Premier League champions find themselves in the same group as FC Porto, whose coach Julen Lopetegui and striker Cristian Tello are both former Barça men. Dynamo Kyiv and Maccabi Tel Aviv complete the line up in group F.

The group of death for Touré and Cáceres

Possibly the toughest of all line ups can be found in group D. Last season’s runners-up to FC Barcelona, Juventus can boast Uruguayan Martín Cáceres in their ranks. The current Serie A champions will have to contend with Manchester City in the group stage, the current home of former Barça midfielder Touré Yaya. Europa League winners Sevilla and the former club of Marc-André ter Stegen, Borussia Mönchengladbach, make it a formidable foursome in the group.

Coaches with a past

Pep Guardiola, Julen Lopetegui and José Mourinho are not the only coaches with a Barça past in this season’s Champions League. In group A we find a Paris Saint-Germain coached by former blaugrana defender Laurent Blanc and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Maxwell and Thiago Motta amongst their stars. Real Madrid, Shaktar Donetsk and Malmö complete the list In group B PSV Eindhoven are coached by Dutchman Philip Cocu, a man who was a Barça player under coach Louis Van Gaal, now manager at Manchester United who are in the same group alongside CSKA Moscow and Wolfsburg.

2 September ticket requests open for the game away at Roma

Ticket application process open from Wednesday / FCB
The process is only open to members and they must apply before 3 September via the Club’s website

On Wednesday 2 September until Thursday 3 September, the Club will be open to ticket requests for the first game of the Champions League group stage to be played on 16 September against AS Roma at the Olympic Stadium in the Italian capital.

This members-only process must be carried out in the members’ area of fcbarcelona.com. Each member may only apply for one ticket, but up to four requests from members may be made on the same form if they wish to travel together.

Friday 4 September, possible draw

For this match, FC Barcelona has a total of 3,500 tickets (2,380 for members and 595 for supporters’ clubs) at a price of 60 euros. If there are more requests than tickets available, there will be a draw on Friday 4 September before a notary at the Club.

Then, between 4 and 7 September, the Club will contact members to charge them for their tickets and announce instructions for collecting the tickets.

Remember that child members under 6 years of age cannot make ticket requests for away games. In addition, one credit card can only be used to request a maximum of eight tickets. Note that the ticket must be collected in person by the member who will be using it. If you cannot collect your ticket you must communicate the name of the person, along with their ID, in order to authorize them to collect the ticket in your absence. This person can pick up no more than eight tickets for other people.

Agreement with West Ham for the loan of Alex Song

Alex Song in action against Rayo Vallecano in 2013/14 / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
FC Barcelona and the Premier League club have reached terms for the Cameroonian midfielder to remain on loan for the 2015/16 season

FC Barcelona and the Premier League club have reached terms for the Cameroonian midfielder to remain on loan for the 2015/16 season.

Alex Song arrived at Camp Nou in the summer of 2012 from Arsenal to bolster the Club’s options in midfield. The Cameroonian joined Tito Vilanova’s squad and played a total of 34 official matches, 20 of which came in the record breaking league title campaign. His first and only goal for the blaugranes came on 17 November 2012 in a 3-1 win over Zaragoza at Camp Nou.

In his second season at the Club under coach Gerardo Martino, Song played a total of 31 matches. The arrival of Luis Enrique saw the midfielder move on loan to Premier League club West Ham United, where he will remain for another season, after having played 65 times in official competition for Barça.

Luis Enrique has beaten every team he's ever faced as FC Barcelona manager

Iniesta, Suárez and Messi celebrate another goal under Luis Enrique / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
Win against Málaga means FC Barcelona have beaten all 26 of the different teams they have played with the Asturian as manager

Nobody can stop Luis Enrique. Of the 26 teams he has faced in official matches since taking over as first team manager, Málaga was the only one he had never beaten. All that has changed following the 1-0 win at the Camp Nou on Saturday.

26 TEAMS BEATEN. Barça have beaten a total 26 teams at least once under the current coach. That’s 19 different Liga opponents and a further six in the Champions League (APOEL, Ajax, PSG, Man City, Bayern and Juventus), not forgetting Huesca in the Copa del Rey. That’s 65 games in all.


ELCHE ROUTED. The team that has been on the receiving end of the most goals is Elche, a massive 18 to no reply. Barça beat them 3-0 and 6-0 in La Liga and then 5-0 and 4-0 in the Copa del Rey. Córdoba are second in that list after conceding 13 goals to Barça, but that was in just two games. At the other end of the spectrum, Celta and Málaga have only leaked a single goal in games played against Luis Enrique’s Barça.


 

SEVEN GOAL-LESS OPPONENTS. No fewer than seven of those 26 teams failed to find the target once against Barça. Those sides are Elche, Córdoba, Levante, Getafe, Eibar, Valencia and APOEL. The highest scoring team against Barça has been Athletic Club, with eight goals in five matches.


MESSI, THE STATS KING. The Argentinian leads a number of statistical categories under Luis Enrique. Not only is he the highest goalscorer, but he’s also top for assists, passes received, shots and minutes played. And he is joint top with Neymar Jr for fouls received, 152 each.


MORE TO COME. Over the next few months, Luis Enrique will be looking to add to his list of victims. There are three fresh Liga opponents in the waiting (Betis, Sporting and Las Palmas) and another three in the Champions League (Bayer Leverkusen, AS Roma (who he’s already beaten in a friendly)and BATE). And there will also be teams to play in this season’s Copa del Rey and Club World Cup.

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