10 out 11 successful European knockout ties

Messi, contra el Bayer Leverkusen. FOTO: FCB.
Guardiola has only ever been beaten once in a European match played over two legs in the four seasons he been Barcelona manager

Barça are into the quarter finals for the fifth consecutive time. Since Pep Guardiola arrived in 2008, their European record is enough to strike fear into the hearts of any of their rivals. They have got through 10 out of 11 European knockout ties between 2009 and 2011.

Long road to Rome

Guardiola’s first do-or-die European clash was in the preliminary round of the competition against Wisla Krakow. A place in the group stages looked beyond doubt after they brushed aside the Polish champions in the new manager’s first official game (4-0). Having got through the groups as well, FCB next faced Olympique Lyon, then Bayern in the quarters and Chelsea in the semi-finals, one of the most nail-biting fixtures of recent years, before going on to lift the cup in Rome.

Only defeat against Inter

Next year, Barça got the better of Stuttgart and Arsenal, with Messi getting four goals in one game against the Gunners. But the semi-final brought Pep Guardiola’s only major setback as Barça manager in Europe, when Inter won the first leg 3-1 and with determined defending, managed to limit the Catalans to one goal at the Camp Nou (1-0).

From the clásico to Wembley

The team made no mistake in Champions League 2010/11. Arsenal were beaten again, and then Shakhtar Donetsk, followed by the old rival Real Madrid to reach the final at Wembley. That made it nine out of ten European qualifications for Guardiola. The record continued this year, with a 10-2 aggregate win against Bayer Leverkusen, the biggest of all over two legs for Barcelona in the last four years.

Tello the super-sub

Cristian Tello / PHOTO: ARCHIVE FCB
The scorer of a brace against Bayer 04 Leverkusen has scored a goal every 66 minutes he has played, an even better average than that of Leo Messi

He has only ever started two first team matches, but has taken his chances extraordinarily well, with six goals already to his name
Cristian Tello is proving to be the perfect super-sub. The Barça B player has scored six times in the 366 minutes he has been with the first team in the Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League. His finest showing yet came against Bayer 04 Leverkusen, where he was on target twice on his European debut, and that despite only being on the pitch for 40 minutes.

Fast and decisive, and always playing on the left, Tello has an average of a goal every 66 minutes. Not even Messi, who has scored once every 93 minutes, can boast stats like that, although the Argentinian has played considerably more minutes, 3,291 this term.

Twice a starter, eight times a sub

Most of Tello’s goals have been scored as a substitute. He has only every been in the first XI twice, against l’Hospitalet in the cup (0-1) and Real Sociedad in the league (2-1), both times playing the full 90 minutes, and both times scoring Barça’s first of the night.

Tello has scored his other five goals as a substitute. He managed braces against both l’Hospitalet (9-0) and Bayer 04 Leverkusen (7-1), while he also netted what was ultimately only a consolation goal at Osasuna.

Krankl, the last Barça player to get five goals

Krankl scoring a spectacular goal / PHOTO: ARxiu Seguí-FCB
The Austrian striker scored five goals against Rayo Vallecano in a 9-0 win in the 78/79 season, which he ended as top scorer

Barça also won the European Cup Winners Cup in Basel that year


Leo Messi is incomparable. His cunning skill, his ability to read the way the team plays, his goalscoring touch, his passion for the game … It is simply impossible to find fault in possibly the most dazzling player that ever graced the game. And he just can’t stop breaking records. No Barça player has ever scored five goals in a European fixture, and in fact, we have to go all the way back to January 14, 1979 to find the last occasion that anybody scored that many goals in any kind of match.

Two faced Barça

As part of the season that ended with Barça winning the Cups Winners Cup in Basel against Fortuna Dusseldorf, Barça under debutant Lucien Müller were famed for some stunning displays at home coupled with some inexplicable setbacks on the road. One of the most amazing displays of all at the Camp Nou was the 9-0 win against Rayo Vallecano, where the star was a very recent signing, Hansi Krankl, recent winner of the Ballon d’Or.

The game was only 61 minutes old when the Austrian, who had impressed at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, had already scored five goals – and each time with his left foot. Wearing the same number nine as Leo Messi, he showed the Camp Nou just what an incredible acquisition they had just made. In the 88 official matches he went on to play for the club, Krankl scored 64 goals, and in that debut season of 78/79 he was the top scorer in Spain with 29 goals. In fact, it was those five against Rayo that first put him top of the chart, moving ahead of the likes of Quini (then of Sporting) and Santillana (Real Madrid).

No more away wins

“It was a very famous game. A phenomenal match”, remembered Hansi Krankl years later on a TV show. “Our home games were great, especially for me as a goalscorer, but we had problems playing away”. In fact, despite that convincing victory at the Camp Nou, Barça would not win any of their remaining nine away league fixtures. “It was a mental thing. We scored five against Zaragoza, and a week later we lost in Salamanca. Nobody understood it”, manager Lucien Müller told ‘Recorda míster’ on Barça TV.

Müller, the first coach of the Josep Lluís Núñez presidency, didn’t last until the end of the season, and it was Joaqium Rifé who led the team to the Basel final. Those were other times, when football was very different, when players wore moustaches and tattoos were unheard of. It was a time when the club was going through sporting and institutional difficulties, very different to the situation today, as Pep Guardiola pointed out to the press following the famous win against Bayer Leverkusen (7-1). The day that Leo Messi also scored five goals.

Inscriptions open for FCBEscola Trials 2012-2013

Proves FCBEscola
The trials will take place on April 28 and May 12

Do you want to be part of the FC Barcelona football school? The last months of the season are upon us and it’s time to start thinking ahead to 2012-2013. At FCBEscola we are running trials for entry next season, and anybody who would like to form part of the greatest club in the world is welcome to apply.

The trials will be held on the pitches annexed to the Miniestadi, and are aimed at all boys and girls born between 2001 and 2006 that share our passion for football and Barça.

The dates for these trials will be Saturday April 28 and Saturday May 12, and on each of these days there are three time slots, so you can choose the one that suits you best.

To apply, just click on the following link: