Barcelona out to bury English hoodoo

Having had each of their last two UEFA Champions League campaigns ended by English opposition, FC Barcelona will be hoping for a change of fortune when they take on Chelsea FC in the first leg of their semi-final.

Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o have been in fine form in this season's competition
Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o have been in fine form in this season's competition ©Getty Images

FC Barcelona will be hoping for a change of fortune when they take on Chelsea FC in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final.

• The Spanish side have exited the competition against English opponents in the past two seasons – losing to Manchester United FC in 2007/08 and Liverpool FC the year before – and won one of their past six games against Premier League teams. Barça have also failed to win in their past four home games against English opposition.

• Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola would prefer to concentrate on the statistic that shows his side are the leading scorers in this season's UEFA Champions League with 29 goals as he aims to take them to the final in his first season as coach – repeating the step he took as a player with the club in 1992 and 1994.

• Chelsea will have to defend better than the last two visitors to Barcelona – Olympique Lyonnais and FC Bayern München, who conceded five and four goals respectively – to secure a second successive final appearance. Yet the London team will take heart from draws on their last two visits to the Camp Nou and, in Guus Hiddink, have a manager well acquainted with this stage of the competition having both won and lost semi-finals with PSV Eindhoven.

• Barcelona advanced to their third semi-final in four seasons with an impressive 5-1 aggregate quarter-final win against Bayern (4-0 home, 1-1 away). They had previously defeated Lyon 6-3 on aggregate (1-1 away, 5-2 home) having topped Group C with a record of W4 D1 L1.

• Chelsea emerged victorious from a thrilling quarter-final against Liverpool, winning 7-5 on aggregate (3-1 away, 4-4 home). They had earlier beaten Juventus 3-2 on aggregate (1-0 home, 2-2 away) after finishing second in Group A with a record of W3 D2 L1.

• Barcelona have won four of the nine previous semi-finals they have contested.
2007/08 Manchester United 0-1 lost (0-0 home, 0-1 away)
2005/06 AC Milan 1-0 won (1-0 away, 0-0 home)
2001/02 Real Madrid CF 1-3 lost (0-2 home, 1-1 away)
1999/00 Valencia CF 3-5 lost (1-4 away, 2-1 home)
1993/94 FC Porto 3-0 won (home)
1985/86 IFK Göteborg 3-3, won 5-4 on pens (0-3 away, 3-0 home)
1974/75 Leeds United AFC 2-3 lost (1-2 away, 1-1 home)
1960/61 Hamburger SV 1-0 won (replay) (1-0 home, 1-2 away)
1959/60 Real Madrid CF 2-6 lost (1-3 away, 1-3 home)
The Spanish side advanced to the 1991/92 final as group winners.

• Chelsea have won one of their four previous semi-finals:
2007/08 Liverpool 4-3 won (1-1 away, 3-2 home)
2006/07 Liverpool 1-1, lost 1-4 on pens (1-0 home, 0-1 away)
2004/05 Liverpool 0-1 lost (0-0 home, 0-1 away)
2003/04 AS Monaco FC 3-5 lost (1-3 away, 2-2 home)

• The clubs have met three times previously in knockout ties in the UEFA Champions League, Barcelona coming out on top twice.

• The full breakdown of results is:
2005/06 first knockout round
Chelsea 1-2 Barcelona
Barcelona 1-1 Chelsea
Barcelona win 3-2 on aggregate

2004/05 first knockout round
Barcelona 2-1 Chelsea
Chelsea 4-2 Barcelona
Chelsea win 5-4 on aggregate

1999/00 quarter-finals
Chelsea 3-1 Barcelona
Barcelona 5-1 Chelsea (after extra time)
Barcelona win 6-4 on aggregate

• The only survivors of the sides' first UEFA Champions League meetings in 1999/00 are Barcelona's Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernández and their coach Guardiola. Puyol played in both matches while Xavi featured in the first leg in London and Guardiola in the return – when Chelsea suffered their heaviest defeat in European competition.

• The clubs also met in the 2006/07 group stage. Chelsea won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge through Didier Drogba's 47th-minute goal before the Ivory Coast striker earned his side a 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou with an equaliser three minutes into added time. Prior to Drogba's late intervention, Deco – now a Chelsea player – had given Barcelona the lead after three minutes before Frank Lampard (52) and former Blues' forward Eidur Gudjohnsen (58) traded goals.

• The full lineups for that most recent encounter in Barcelona were:
Barcelona: Víctor Valdés, Gianluca Zambrotta, Rafael Márquez, Carles Puyol, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Xavi Hernández (Andrés Iniesta), Thiago Motta (Edmílson), Deco, Lionel Messi, Eidur Gujohnsen (Ludovic Giuly), Ronaldinho.
Chelsea: Henrique Hilário, Khalid Boulahrouz (Joe Cole), Ricardo Carvalho, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Michael Essien, Claude Makelele, Michael Ballack (Paulo Ferreira), Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Arjen Robben (Salomon Kalou).

• Barcelona's full record against English clubs is: W20 D15 L15.

• Their home record is: W13 D9 L2.

• Their record in two-legged knockout ties against English clubs is: W7 L7.

• Barcelona have a poor record in semi-finals against opponents from England, having lost four out of five in UEFA club competition:
2007/08 UEFA Champions League, Manchester United 0-1 lost (0-0 home, 0-1 away)
2000/01 UEFA Cup, Liverpool 0-1 lost (0-0 home, 0-1 away)
1981/82 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, Tottenham Hotspur FC 2-1 won (1-1 away, 1-0 home)
1975/76 UEFA Cup, Liverpool 1-2 lost (0-1 home, 1-1 away)
1974/75 European Champion Clubs' Cup, Leeds United AFC 2-3 lost (1-2 away, 1-1 home)

• Barcelona have had mixed fortunes in finals against English clubs. They lost the 1991 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final 2-1 to Manchester United but defeated Arsenal by the same score in the UEFA Champions League final in 2006.

• Chelsea's full record against Spanish clubs is: W11 D6 L6.

• Their record in Spain is W3 D2 L5.

• In two-legged ties with Spanish clubs their record is W3 L4.

• The London club have come from behind to win on their last two visits to Spain – both 2-1 victories at Valencia.

• The first in the 2006/07 quarter-final second leg secured a 3-2 aggregate success and arrived courtesy of a last-minute Michael Essien strike. The second came in October 2007, in the 2007/08 group stage, Drogba earning the three points with a 71st-minute winner.

• Chelsea beat Real Madrid to win their first European honour – the 1970/71 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. The London club won a replay 2-1 after a 1-1 draw in Athens.

• Chelsea manager Hiddink took his former club, PSV, past Spanish opposition in Real Madrid at this stage of the European Cup in 1988. PSV drew 1-1 in Spain before a goalless draw in the Netherlands secured an away-goals win for the eventual champions.

• During his second spell with PSV, however, Hiddink saw his charges lose narrowly to Milan in the 2004/05 semi-finals – suffering an away-goals defeat after they followed a 2-0 away reverse with a 3-1 home win.

• Hiddink experienced a semi-final defeat by Spanish opponents only last summer when his Russia side lost in the last four of UEFA EURO 2008™ against Spain, going down 3-0 to a team that included the Barcelona trio of Andrés Iniesta, Puyol and Xavi with the latter scoring the first goal.

• Puyol and Xavi were in the Spain team beaten on penalties by Hiddink's Korea Republic in the quarter-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Xavi scoring in the 5-3 shoot-out defeat following a goalless 120 minutes.

• Hiddink has had spells in charge of Valencia (1991-93), Real Madrid (1998-99) and Real Betis Balompié (2000). He suffered five Liga defeats in six matches against Barça while with Valencia, that solitary win coming in the shape of a 1-0 victory at the Mestalla in 1991/92. Hiddink fared little better at Madrid, with a 2-2 home draw and a 3-0 reverse in the Camp Nou. The Dutchman enjoyed victory in his first match in charge of Betis, however, with a 2-1 home win against Barcelona on 13 February 2000.

• Hiddink has taken a side to the Camp Nou four times in the league, and on each occasion they have been beaten while conceding three goals. The full list is:
1991/92: Barcelona 3-1 Valencia
1992/93: Barcelona 3-0 Valencia
1993/94: Barcelona 3-1 Valencia
1998/99: Barcelona 3-0 Real Madrid

• The coach also took his Valencia outfit to the stadium in a 1991/92 Copa del Rey Round of 16 decider and despite losing 2-0 on the night, that scoreline levelled the tie following his side's 4-2 first-leg win and they then went on to triumph 5-4 in the penalty shoot-out.

• Chelsea pair Deco and Juliano Belletti were in the Barcelona team that defeated Arsenal in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final – Belletti stepping off the bench to score the winning goal. Chelsea's Ashley Cole plus Thierry Henry and Aleksandr Hleb, both now Barcelona players, were on the losing Arsenal side that day.

• Belletti actually scored an own goal when playing for Barcelona against Chelsea at the Camp Nou in the clubs' first knockout round tie in 2004/05.

• During his eight years with Arsenal (1999-07), Henry scored ten goals in 19 appearances against Chelsea – winning nine of those games and losing only four.

• Hleb, meanwhile, was at Arsenal between 2005 and 2008, playing eight times against Chelsea but tasting victory only once and suffering five defeats.

• Barcelona forward Gudjohnsen spent six seasons with Chelsea between 2000 and 2006, winning two Premier League titles and the League Cup.

• Nicolas Anelka scored against Barcelona in February 2000 during his season-long stint at Real Madrid in a 3-0 Liga win at the Santiago Bernabéu.

• The tie reunites several international colleagues: Barcelona's Eric Abidal and Henry with their France team-mates Florent Malouda and Anelka while Yaya Touré plays alongside Chelsea strikers Drogba and Salomon Kalou for the Ivory Coast.

• The second leg will take place at Stamford Bridge on 6 May with the winners advancing to a final against Manchester United or Arsenal at Rome's Stadio Olimpico on 27 May.

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