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Barcelona to challenge FCK's leadership credentials

FC København hold a two-point lead in Group D but that supremacy is under threat on Matchday 3 with their visit to closest rivals FC Barcelona, who have never lost against Danish opponents.

Barcelona to challenge FCK's leadership credentials
Barcelona to challenge FCK's leadership credentials ©UEFA.com

An immediate test of FC København's ability to remain as leaders of Group D comes with their visit to FC Barcelona on Matchday 3. Victory would enable the Catalan club to overtake their Danish visitors.

• Barcelona began with a bang as Lionel Messi inspired them to a 5-1 victory against Panathinaikos FC on Matchday 1, scoring twice and making two others as Josep Guardiola's side roared back from a goal down.

• On Matchday 2, Barça found themselves checked again by FC Rubin Kazan who last season took four points from them. Only David Villa's second-half penalty rescued a 1-1 draw and a point.

• København began their second UEFA Champions League campaign with a 1-0 home win against Rubin. They left it late however, three minutes remaining when Dame N'Doye headed the only goal.

• N'Doye was on target again two weeks later on his return to Panathinaikos, where he spent the 2007/08 season. He fired FCK ahead in the 28th minute with Martin Vingaard adding a second from a free-kick nine minutes later.

Previous meetings
• As if the prospect of facing the 2009 champions on their own soil is not daunting enough, FCK also have to reverse the trend of history if they are to maintain their unbeaten run. In six European fixtures against teams from Denmark, Barcelona have won five and drawn the other. Their only previous Danish UEFA Champions League opponents were Brøndby IF, a team they beat 2-0 both home and away in the 1998/99 group stage.

• København's results against Spanish opposition are virtually the polar opposite: in six games they have lost three and drawn three. Their last visit to that country, to face Valencia CF in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage, ended 1-1.

Match background
• Barcelona won five out of six home games last season although their last, a 1-0 defeat of FC Internazionale Milano in the semi-final second leg, proved insufficient to overturn a 3-1 first-leg deficit.

• The Spanish side have won their group in each of the last three seasons and qualified for the knockout rounds eight times in the last nine campaigns. The sole exception was 2003/04, when they were not involved in the competition.

• København were previously involved in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League when they finished bottom of Group F with seven points. They lost all three away games: 1-0 at Celtic FC, 3-0 at Manchester United FC and 3-1 at SL Benfica.

• FCK reached this stage with an away-goals triumph in the play-offs against Rosenborg BK, following a 2-1 defeat in Norway with a 1-0 win at the Parken Stadion. In the third qualifying round they drew 0-0 at FC BATE Borisov, winning 3-2 in the Danish capital.

Team ties
• Spain faced Denmark twice on the road to UEFA EURO 2008 qualification, Villa scoring the decisive goal in their 2-1 win in Madrid on 24 March 2007. Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernández and Jesper Grønkjær also played in the fixture.

• Grønkjær made 16 appearances for Club Atlético de Madrid in 2005.