Real Madrid CF will be hoping things happen in threes as they welcome arch-rivals FC Barcelona for the first leg of this eagerly awaited all-Spanish UEFA Champions League semi-final.
• Madrid have got the better of Barcelona twice before at this stage of the competition en route to lifting the European Champion Clubs' Cup, in 1960 and 2002.
• That history, allied with José Mourinho's 2009/10 semi-final success against Barcelona with FC Internazionale Milano and his Madrid side's Copa del Rey final victory against the Catalan club on 20 April, offers Madrid hope of reaching the final at Wembley despite the recent supremacy enjoyed by Josep Guardiola's Azulgrana in fixtures between these eternal rivals.
• The head-to-head record between the clubs in all competitions, including the now defunct Spanish League Cup, is 86 wins for Madrid, 82 for Barcelona and 43 draws.
• Their most recent meeting at the Santiago Bernabéu produced a 1-1 draw in the Spanish Liga on 16 April, Cristiano Ronaldo's 82nd-minute penalty equalising a 53rd-minute spot kick by Lionel Messi. Madrid finished the match with ten men after Raúl Albiol's dismissal but ended a sequence of five straight league losses to Barcelona following Guardiola's appointment in 2008.
• That was the 81st league encounter between the clubs in the Spanish capital, Madrid recording 50 wins to Barcelona's 16 with 15 draws.
• The clubs met again four days later in the Spanish Cup final in Valencia where Ronaldo's 103rd-minute goal earned Madrid a 1-0 victory – and a first trophy since 2008. It was Guardiola's first defeat against the Merengues as Barcelona coach.
• Barcelona had recorded a famous 5-0 victory in the teams' first meeting this season at the Camp Nou on 29 November, Xavi Hernández (9), Pedro Rodríguez (17), David Villa (64, 67) and Jeffren (88) getting the goals and Madrid again ending a man down after Sergio Ramos's 89th-minute red card.
• Madrid last prevailed in this fixture with a 4-1 home win on 7 May 2008.
• This match falls exactly 51 years since Madrid's 3-1 win at Barcelona in the second leg of their 1959/60 European Cup semi-final. With that victory on 27 April 1960, the Merengues wrapped up a 6-2 aggregate success and went on to lift the trophy by beating Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3.
• In the first round of the following season's competition Barcelona became the first team to knock Madrid out of the European Cup, following up a 2-2 draw in the Spanish capital with a 2-1 home triumph.
• The clubs' third encounter came when Vicente del Bosque's Madrid beat Carlos Rexach's Barcelona 3-1 on aggregate in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League semi-finals, winning 2-0 at the Camp Nou before a 1-1 home draw. As in 1960, the victory was the springboard for a final triumph against German opposition in Glasgow, this time 2-1 against Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
• The lineups for that second leg at the Santiago Bernabéu on 1 May 2002 were:
Real Madrid: César, Salgado, Roberto Carlos, Hierro, Helguera, Figo (McManaman 68), Solari, Makelele, Raúl González, Zidane (Flávio Conçeicão 46), Guti (Pavón 87).
Barcelona: Bonano, De Boer, Abelardo, Coco (Overmars 46), Puyol, Rochemback (Geovanni 67), Luis Enrique, Xavi, Cocu (Sergi 75), Saviola, Kluivert.
• While Xavi and Carles Puyol played for Barcelona, Iker Casillas and Aitor Karanka, today Madrid's captain and assistant coach respectively, were unused substitutes on the home bench.
• Nine-time winners Madrid are seeking to reach a 13th European Cup final in what is a record 22nd semi-final appearance. Their semi-final record is W12 L9:
2002/03 Juventus: 2-1 (h), 1-3 (a)
2001/02 FC Barcelona: 2-0 (a), 1-1 (h)
2000/01 FC Bayern München: 0-1 (h), 1-2 (a)
1999/2000 FC Bayern München: 2-0 (h), 1-2 (a)
1997/98 Borussia Dortmund: 2-0 (h), 0-0 (a)
1988/89 AC Milan: 1-1 (h), 0-5 (a)
1987/88 PSV Eindhoven: 1-1 (h), 0-0 (a)
1986/87 FC Bayern München: 1-4 (a), 1-0 (h)
1980/81 FC Internazionale Milano: 2-0 (h), 0-1 (a)
1979/80 Hamburger SV: 2-0 (h), 1-5 (a)
1975/76 FC Bayern München: 1-1 (h), 0-2 (a)
1972/73 AFC Ajax: 1-2 (a), 0-1 (h)
1967/68 Manchester United FC: 0-1 (a), 3-3 (h)
1965/66 FC Internazionale Milano: 1-0 (h), 1-1 (a)
1963/64 FC Zürich: 2-1 (a), 6-0 (h)
1961/62 R. Standard de Liège: 4-0 (h), 2-0 (a)
1959/60 FC Barcelona: 3-1 (h), 3-1 (a)
1958/59 Club Atlético de Madrid: 2-1 (h), 0-1 (a), 2-1 (n, replay)
1957/58 Vasas SC: 4-0 (h), 0-2 (a)
1956/57 Manchester United FC: 3-1 (h), 2-2 (a)
1955/56 AC Milan: 4-2 (h), 1-2 (a)
• Three-time winners Barcelona are playing in their 12th semi-final. They have won five and lost six:
2009/10 FC Internazionale Milano: 1-3 (a), 1-0 (h)
2008/09 Chelsea FC: 0-0 (h), 1-1 (a)
2007/08 Manchester United FC: 0-0 (h), 0-1 (a)
2005/06 AC Milan: 1-0 (a), 0-0 (h)
2001/02 Real Madrid CF: 0-2 (h), 1-1 (a)
1999/2000 Valencia CF: 1-4 (a), 2-1 (h)
1993/94 FC Porto: 3-0 (h)
1985/86 IFK Göteborg: 0-3 (a), 3-0 (h, 5-4 pens)
1974/75 Leeds United AFC: 1-2 (a), 1-1 (h)
1960/61 Hamburger SV: 1-0 (h), 1-2 (a), 1-0 (n, replay)
1959/60 Real Madrid CF: 1-3 (a), 1-3 (h)
• Madrid have not beaten Barcelona in the clubs' last three Santiago Bernabéu contests but they have won five out of five at home in this season's UEFA Champions League, scoring 15 goals and conceding none.
• In two-legged European ties against Spanish clubs Madrid have recorded four overall wins out of five, including three European Cup semi-final successes. They also overcame Valencia CF 3-0 in the 2000 final in Paris.
• Barcelona's record against Spanish rivals in two-legged European encounters is three wins and five defeats, including three European Cup semi-final reverses. In their last fixture they went down 3-0 to Sevilla FC in the 2006 UEFA Super Cup, a match featuring present Azulgrana players Daniel Alves and Adriano in the opposition ranks.
• Barcelona have won twice in five attempts on their travels in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League, beating Panathinaikos FC in the group stage and FC Shakhtar Donetsk in the quarter-finals. Their solitary defeat came on a last-16 visit to Arsenal FC.
• Mourinho served as an assistant to Sir Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal at Barcelona from 1996 to 2000.
• As Chelsea FC manager, Mourinho oversaw a 5-4 aggregate defeat of Barcelona in the 2004/05 round of 16 but suffered a 3-2 overall loss at the same phase the next season. In the 2006/07 group stage Chelsea finished above the Catalan side after a 1-0 home win and 2-2 away draw. Last term Mourinho's Inter beat Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate in the semi-finals.
• Mourinho's UEFA Champions League semi-final record reads W2 L2. He led FC Porto past RC Deportivo La Coruña in 2004 but fell at this stage with Chelsea against Liverpool FC in 2005 and 2007.
• Guardiola played in the Barcelona team that won the European Cup at the old Wembley in 1992.
• Casillas, Albiol, Álvaro Arbeloa, Ramos and Xabi Alonso joined Víctor Valdés, Gerard Piqué, Puyol, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi, Pedro Rodríguez and David Villa in Spain's 2010 FIFA World Cup-winning squad.
• Javier Mascherano was a team-mate of Jerzy Dudek, Alonso and Arbeloa at Liverpool. Mascherano, Arbeloa and Alonso were in the Liverpool side that defeated Mourinho and Ricardo Carvalho's Chelsea in the 2007 UEFA Champions League semi-finals. Lassana Diarra was an unused substitute for Chelsea.
• Ronaldo, Pepe and Carvalho were on the losing side for Portugal against Spain in the round of 16 at the 2010 World Cup. Villa scored the only goal and Piqué, Puyol, Busquets, Iniesta, Xavi and Pedro also featured for Spain.
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