With Gerard Piqué eager to find out what chance FC Barcelona have of making the final, our statisticians retreated to a darkened room for a few hours. They emerged with this.
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What are FC Barcelona's chances of reaching the UEFA Champions League final after their 3-0 victory over FC Bayern München last week? "I think you have to check the stats," said Gerard Piqué. OK then, Gerard, we have.
After scouring through six decades of results, our statisticians have an answer: Barcelona are 95.2% through, while Bayern have a 4.8% chance of a comeback that will take them to Berlin on 6 June. Or, to put it another way: Barcelona do not merely have one foot in the final but both feet, legs, torso, head and one arm. Only the other arm, which accounts for about 5% of the average body, is not yet there.
In total, 124 European Cup first legs have ended in a 3-0 win for the home team*, qualifying included, and 118 went on to complete the job and advance to the next round. Only six sides have brushed themselves off and turned the tables:
2003/04 1QR: KF Tirana 3-0 FC Dinamo Tbilisi, 4-2 on pens
1997/98 2QR: Paris Saint-Germain 5-0 FC Steaua Bucureşti
1993/94 R1: FC København 4-0 Linfield FC
1988/89 R2: Galatasaray AŞ 5-0 Neuchâtel Xamax FC
1988/89 R1: SV Werder Bremen 3-0 Berliner FC Dynamo
1985/86 SF: FC Barcelona 3-0 IFK Göteborg, 5-4 on pens
Bayern, then, are up against it. We also looked at other European club competitions and the figures are pretty similar. In the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League 245 sides have won the first leg 3-0 at home and 232 (94.7%) advanced; only 13 (5.3%) beaten teams managed to overcome the deficit. A measure, perhaps, of the size of ACF Fiorentina's task against holders Sevilla FC on Thursday.
The now defunct UEFA Cup Winners' Cup offered more hope for sides losing 3-0 away from home. Of the 72 occasions it happened, six (8.3%) pulled off mission improbable.
What, you ask, about, Real Madrid CF v Juventus? There is almost nothing in it. Over the past 60 years, 157 teams have won the first instalment 2-1 at home, as Juve did last week. Eighty (51%) subsequently progressed to the next round; on the other 77 occasions (49%) the beaten side recovered to go through.
Right, who is next?
*the total of 124 does not count the 1992 tie between VfB Stuttgart and Leeds United AFC. The German side won the first leg 3-0 but forfeited the second (an automatic 3-0 loss). Leeds won the subsequent play-off.