A closer look at Granada, now safe from relegation

Lionel Messi scored in the 69th minute in last season's 3–1 Barça win in Granada. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Since José González took over coaching duties the Andalusian side are undefeated at home and have secured another season in the top flight

It all comes down to what happens on Saturday in Granada.

That’s where, at 5.00pm CET, FC Barcelona kick-off their final match of the season. A blaugrana victory there will sign, seal and deliver the 2015/16 La Liga title.

It would be Barça’s second league championship in a row and their sixth in the last eight seasons.

But even though Barça only depend on themselves, and with Granada having already avoided relegation, Saturday’s clash in the south of Spain will be no cakewalk.

Granada will be playing in front of their home fans. They’ll be looking to bid farewell to the season with a victory. And they are not the same Granada that Barça shut out 4–0 at Camp Nou back in January.

In February, with Granada mired deep in the abyss, José González took over as head coach. They haven’t looked back.

Since then the Andalusians have not lost at home, harvesting two wins (over Sporting and Levante) and three draws (with Espanyol, Rayo Vallecano, and Málaga).

To make things more interesting for Saturday, three of Granada’s players have a Barça past. David Lombán and Rubén Rochina both played for Barça B in the last several years while Isaac Cuenca played for the first team under Pep Guardiola. Rochina, at the time, was under the orders of Luis Enrique, who led Barça B from 2008–2011.

Barça’s numbers in Granada

The two sides have met many times in league play, despite the fact that Granada were absent from the First Division from 1975 to 2011.

In the last five years, however, Granada have been regulars in the top flight.

Barça have played at Granada four times over that span with three wins and a single loss, which came by the minimum in the 2011/12 season.

But one thing is certain — Barça always have to work hard to win there.

Saturday will be no different.