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Pressure on Panathinaikos for Barcelona visit

Unbeaten in their two previous home matches against FC Barcelona, Panathinaikos FC are in urgent need of a repeat performance as they look to lift themselves off the foot of Group D.

Pressure on Panathinaikos for Barcelona visit
Pressure on Panathinaikos for Barcelona visit ©UEFA.com

Panathinaikos FC have recorded a win and a draw from FC Barcelona's previous visits and another victory would provide a timely fillip for their UEFA Champions League chances.

• The Greek champions, who parted company with coach Nikos Nioplias on 15 November, are in need of a boost as they lie bottom of Group D, although on Matchday 1 in Spain they did take a surprise lead through Sidney Govou. Their supremacy was short-lived as Lionel Messi took centre stage to help his side run out 5-1 winners, the Argentinian international scoring twice as well as laying on two assists. David Villa made it 3-1 at the interval with further goals coming from Pedro Rodríguez and Daniel Alves late on.

Previous meetings
• Barça have now won three of the five previous competitive matches between the teams, all of which were in the UEFA Champions League, although those victories all came at Camp Nou. Panathinaikos' solitary success was a 1-0 home win in the 2001/02 quarter-final first leg, Angelos Basinas supplying the goal, although their opponents overturned the deficit with a 3-1 victory in Spain.

• Not only are the Greens unbeaten at home against the Catalan club, they have not conceded a goal. The other fixture, in the 2005/06 group stage, ended scoreless.

• Panathinaikos have lost their last two home games against Spanish opponents, going down 3-2 to Club Atlético de Madrid in last season's UEFA Champions League play-off and 2-1 against Villarreal CF in the last 16 of the same competition the previous season. Of the six previous fixtures only two were won – the rest all finished as draws.

• In other visits to Athens, Barcelona have been more successful, winning 3-0 at Panionios GSS in the 2003/04 UEFA Cup second round to set up a 5-0 aggregate success. They were 1-0 away victors against AEK Athens FC in the fourth round of the 2000/01 competition, eventually going through 6-0 overall.

• Barça's first trip to Greece ended in a 1-0 reverse at PAOK FC in the 1975/76 UEFA Cup first round first leg, although they won the return 6-1.

Match background
• Panathinaikos were beaten 2-0 at home by FC København on Matchday 2, before home and away goalless draws against FC Rubin Kazan left the Greens at the bottom of the table with two points.

• Panathinaikos have won only one of their last eight home matches in the UEFA Champions League proper.

• Barcelona were held 1-1 at Rubin in their second fixture, but overhauled København at the top of the table with a 2-0 defeat of the Danish champions at Camp Nou on Matchday 3. They remained a point ahead of their opponents after a 1-1 draw in Copenhagen last time out.

• The draw in Denmark meant that the Spanish champions have lost just one of their last 14 UEFA Champions League away games, although they have won only one of the last 11 and none of the last five. They went 11 matches without defeat before going down 3-1 in last season's semi-final first leg at FC Internazionale Milano.

Team ties
• Luis García started his career at La Masia, Barcelona's famous academy, along with Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta and Víctor Valdés. All five were members of the Barcelona team in 2003/04 before García joined Liverpool FC.

• García (2007-09) and Giourkas Seitaridis (2006-09) both had spells at Atlético, García spending last season at Real Racing Club. Panathinaikos central defender Josu Sarriegi spent his entire career in Spain with Deportivo Alavés (2000-06) and Athletic Club (2006/07) before joining Panathinaikos in summer 2007.

• Sebastián Leto and Javier Mascherano were team-mates at Liverpool in 2007/08 while Govou and Éric Abidal played together at Olympique Lyonnais between 2004 and 2007.

• Daniel Alves and Adriano are international team-mates with Gilberto Silva for Brazil while Djibril Cissé, Govou and Jean-Alain Boumsong play alongside Abidal for France. Cédric Kanté and Seydou Keita are team-mates with Mali.

• Gilberto Silva was in the Arsenal FC side beaten 2-1 by Barcelona in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final in Paris.

• Kostas Katsouranis scored against Spain in Greece's 3-2 friendly defeat in Thessaloniki on 22 August 2007. Seitaridis started for the home team, Loukas Vyntra and Nikos Spyropoulos coming on after the break. Xavi and Villa started for Spain, Iniesta and García appearing as second-half replacements.