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21.05.2008 09:55

A tough, tough season

Marc Guillén

Barça have ended a season in which they played the maximum number of possible fixtures with the sole exceptions of the Spanish Cup and Champions League finals. In the 5 biggest leagues in Europe, only Getafe and Chelsea have played more than Barça.

In a more compact season than usual due to the European Championship in June, FC Barcelona have played 58 of the possible 60 official matches.

Barça and Getafe top list in Spain

In Spain, only Getafe have played more official games than Barça. The side from Madrid played 61 games: 38 in the League, 9 in the Copa del Rey (where they reached the final) and 13 in their run to the UEFA Cup quarter finals.

fcbbb-getafe_x5x.jpgFC Barcelona faced 58 games: 38 in the League, 8 in the Copa del Rey and 12 in the Champions League, where they went as far as the final four. The only potential games Barça missed out on were the finals of the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.

After Barça and Getafe, there is some difference before we come to the next Spanish team Real Madrid, who played 50 matches, Sevilla on 48 and Villarreal on 46, the same as Atlético Madrid.

Only Chelsea played more

In the other four main leagues of Europe, (England, Germany, France and Italy) the only team that played more games than Barcelona was Chelsea, with 61.

fcb-bilbao-milito.jpgAs well as the Premier League and making it to the final of the Champions League, Chelsea also reached the quarter finals of the FA Cup and the final of the League Cup. No English side comes close to that total (Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool all played 56 games) as they all went out of the FA Cup and League Cup at much earlier stages.

The busiest side in Italy was Fiorentina, with 57 encounters, having reached the semis of the UEFA Cup and the quarters of the Coppa. Roma came next, with 55 games, while Inter played 53.

Bayern Munich won more titles than any other side in the major leagues, the Bundesliga, and both the German cups, but there are only 18 teams in the Bundesliga and the cups are shorter affairs, so in total they ‘only’ had to play 57 games. They are followed by Werder Bremen and Schalke 04 on 50, and Bayer Leverkusen on 47.

And in France, Olympique Lyon played 54 games after making the last eight of the League Cup and being cup finalists.
A tough, tough season
League Cups and UEFA Cup
Spanish teams play in three major competitions, the League, the Copa del Rey and, if they qualify, one of the two major European club competitions. The same is true in Italy, but in France, England and Germany there is a second cup competition, the League Cup. These ‘extra’ cups are approached in different ways by different teams, and those that are still in Europe generally prefer to concentrate more on those games than the ‘minor’ cup competition, which is reflected in squad selections. Winning the Champions League involves 13 games, assuming a club does not play in the qualifying rounds, while the UEFA Cup, discounting preliminary rounds, takes 16 games.

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