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Barcelona vs Galatasaray: UEFA Europa League background, form guide, previous meetings

Barcelona's quest for the one major international trophy they have never won continues with a round of 16 tie against former UEFA Cup winners Galatasaray.

Galatasaray’s Ümit Daval confronts Barcelona’s Thiago Motta in 2002
Galatasaray’s Ümit Daval confronts Barcelona’s Thiago Motta in 2002 PA Images via Getty Images

Barcelona's quest for the one major international trophy missing from their collection continues with a UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie against former UEFA Cup winners Galatasaray.

• After 17 successive years competing in the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League, Barcelona failed to progress from their group this season, picking up just seven points to finish third behind Bayern München and Benfica and cross over to the UEFA Europa League, where they drew 1-1 at home to Napoli on their competition debut before eliminating their Italian opponents with a pulsating 4-2 victory at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

• Galatasaray's last European match was also in Italy, a 0-0 draw in Rome in December that secured their direct qualification for the UEFA Europa League round of 16 as unbeaten Group E winners, the Turkish side registering four points against all three of their opponents – Lokomotiv Moskva, Marseille and Lazio.

Barcelona vs Galatasaray: the latest from the match

Previous meetings
• Barcelona and Galatasaray have met in eight previous UEFA fixtures – all group games in the UEFA Champions League between 1993 and 2002. The Spanish side won five of them, losing just one and remaining undefeated at home (W3 D1), the most recent fixture bringing a 3-1 win on Matchday 6 in 2002/03. In each of the four seasons that they have met, Barcelona made further progress in the competition while Galatasaray failed to make it out of the group.

• Barcelona have won all of their other three home games against Turkish visitors, though they had to overturn a 0-1 deficit to win their only previous two-legged knockout tie against a team from the country, winning the second leg 7-2 against Trabzonspor in the 1990/91 European Cup Winners' Cup first round.

• Galatasaray's last visit to Spain, in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League group stage, brought a 6-0 defeat by Real Madrid – their joint heaviest in UEFA competition. Indeed, the last six of their 33 UEFA matches against Spanish opponents have all been lost, with 21 goals conceded and just two scored.

• The Istanbul club's record in two-legged ties with Spanish clubs is W1 L6 with defeats in the last five, though the exception was a 6-2 aggregate victory over Mallorca (4-1 a, 2-1 h) in the quarter-finals of the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup, which they went on to win, becoming the first club from Turkey to lift a major European trophy. They also defeated Madrid 2-1 after extra time in the UEFA Super Cup later that year. That victory in Mallorca remains their only one away to Liga hosts, their 15 visits to the Spanish mainland having yielded 11 defeats and four draws.

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Form guide
• Barcelona were third in the 2020/21 Spanish Liga behind Atlético de Madrid and Real Madrid, the first time they had finished outside the top two since 2007/08, when they also came third. They did, however, claim a record-extending 31st victory in the Copa del Rey, beating Athletic Club 4-0 in the final.

• Last season Barcelona also failed to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2006/07, losing to Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 (1-4 h, 1-1 a). This term they scored just two goals – both in 1-0 wins against Dynamo Kyiv – in finishing third behind Bayern (0-3 h, 0-3 a) and Benfica (0-3 a, 0-0 h) in Group E. Head coach Ronald Koeman was dismissed in October and replaced the following month by former midfielder Xavi Hernández.

• While this is Barça's first season in the UEFA Europa League, their last appearance in the UEFA Cup was in 2003/04, when they reached the fourth round before being knocked out by Celtic (0-1 a, 0-0 h). Barcelona never won the UEFA Cup, nor reached a final, suffering semi-final elimination on four occasions – in 1975/76, 1977/78, 1995/96 and 2000/01.

• Barcelona have lost three of their last six European home games – all by three-goal margins – and have failed to score in the same number. They are unbeaten, however, in their last nine UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League matches at the Camp Nou (W5 D4), keeping five clean sheets.

• Runners-up to Beşiktaş in the 2020/21 Turkish Süper Lig by the narrowest of margins, Galatasaray were unable to join their Istanbul rivals in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage as they were overwhelmed by PSV Eindhoven in the second qualifying round (1-5 a, 1-2 h). However, they ensured an autumn of UEFA Europa League involvement by subsequently defeating Saint Johnstone (1-1 h, 4-2 a) and Randers (1-1 a, 2-1 h).

• Ousted by Rangers in the play-offs of last season's UEFA Europa League (1-2 a), Galatasaray are currently enjoying their deepest run in the competition. The 1999/2000 UEFA Cup winners alternated victories with draws in Group E during the autumn as they qualified ahead of Lazio (1-0 h, 0-0 a), Marseille (0-0 a, 4-2 h) and Lokomotiv (1-0 a, 1-1 h). They have since replaced Fatih Terim as head coach with former Barcelona assistant boss Domènec Torrent.

• This is the Istanbul club's first appearance in the UEFA Europa League round of 16. They have lost each of their previous initial ties in the knockout phase of the competition, falling to round of 32 defeats in 2009/10 by Atlético (1-1 a, 1-2 h), in 2015/16 by Lazio (1-1 h, 1-3 a) and in 2018/19 by Benfica (1-2 h, 0-0 a). They are therefore still awaiting their first win in a UEFA Europa League knockout phase encounter (D3 L3).

• Galatasaray's away record in all rounds of the UEFA Europa League, qualifying included, is W7 D8 L4, and they remain undefeated in the competition this season, their away record reading W2 D3 with clean sheets kept in all three group games.

UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal), Ferran Torres (Manchester City), Adama Traoré (Wolves, loan)
Out: Sergio Agüero (retired), Philippe Coutinho (Aston Villa, loan), Yusuf Demir (Rapid Wien, end loan), Iñaki Peña (Galatasaray, loan)

In: Bafétimbi Gomis (Al-Hilal), Iñaki Peña (Barcelona, loan), Erick Pulgar (Fiorentina, loan)
Out: Atalay Babacan (Ümraniyespor, loan), Mbaye Diagne (released), Christian Luyindama (Al Taawoun, loan), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami)

Links and trivia 
• Barcelona's Jordi Alba has played 99 games in UEFA club competition.

• Barcelona goalkeeper and Spanish Under-21 international Iñaki Peña joined Galatasaray on loan in the January transfer window.

• Galatasaray's 35-year-old midfielder Arda Turan is a former Barcelona player who scored 15 goals in 55 appearances for the club between 2015 and 2017, winning one domestic league crown and two Spanish Cups. He was also a 2011/12 UEFA Europa League winner in the first of his four seasons with Atlético de Madrid.

• Xavi started both of Barça's matches against Galatasaray in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League second group stage (2-2 h, 1-0 a) plus the 2-0 away win in the following season's first group stage.

• New Galatasaray head coach Torrent hails from Catalonia and served on the coaching staff at Barcelona from 2007 to 2012 before accompanying Pep Guardiola to Bayern München (2013–16) and Manchester City (2016–18), where he continued to operate as his assistant.

• Barcelona trio Frenkie de Jong, Luuk de Jong and Memphis Depay are Netherlands national team-mates of Galatasaray's Patrick van Aanholt and Ryan Babel.

• Also representing the same national team are Ronald Araújo and Fernando Muslera (Uruguay) and Martin Braithwaite and Victor Nelsson (Denmark).

• Babel and Barcelona's Sergiño Dest were team-mates at Ajax in 2019/20, Barça defender Samuel Umtiti and new Galatasaray recruit Bafétimbi Gomis played together at Lyon from 2011 to 2014, and Jordi Alba and Sofiane Feghouli were Valencia colleagues from 2010 to 2012.

• Feghouli spent six years in Spain with Valencia (2010–16), which incorporated a 2011 loan spell at Almería, and Babel spent the first half of 2016/17 with Deportivo La Coruña.

• New signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's goal for Barcelona in the 4-2 win at Napoli was his 23rd in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, moving him to fourth alone in the all-time list – behind Radamel Falcao (30), Aritz Aduriz (26) and Munas Dabbur (24).

• Galatasaray are one of five clubs involved in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 that have previously lifted the trophy, in their case in its former guise as the UEFA Cup.

• Competition debutants Barcelona became the 224th team to take part in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, and the 13th from Spain, when they entered in the knockout round play-offs.

• Barcelona are one of three reigning domestic cup holders in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 – along with Crvena zvezda and Braga.

• The Catalan giants are also one of three former European Cup/UEFA Champions League winners involved in the last 16 – together with Crvena zvezda and Porto.

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