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29.05.2008 10:09

Other managerial debuts

Jes˙s Carrillo

In August, and for just the fourth time, FC Barcelona will have to play the Champions League qualification round. On all three previous occasions, it was also a new manager who had to deal with this high pressure situation.

Skonto Riga, Wisla Krakow and Legia Warsaw provided the first official opposition of the 97/98, 01/02 and 02/03 seasons for Louis van Gaal, Carles Rexach and the Dutchman again on his return to the club. Barcelona won all of six of these games.

Van Gaal first

After finishing second in the league under Bobby Robson in 96/97, Barcelona played in the qualifying round of the Champions League for the first time since the new system was established. Led by incoming boss Louis van Gaal, the challenge was Latvian champions Skonto, and the home leg at the Camp Nou turned out to be much harder than had been expected, with a late winner making it 3-2. Barša edged through with a 1-0 win in the away leg.

Rexach second

Rexach_parlant_a_lxaeroport_bona.jpgCarles Rexach also started his spell on the Barša bench with a Champions League qualifier after Rivaldo’s famous overhead kick against Valencia had seen Barša go into the draw on the last day of the season. They went on to meet Wisla Krakow of Poland and won a thrilling first leg 4-3 away. Five of the seven goals came in an amazing quarter of an hour, with the Poles going ahead three times (1-0, 2-1 and 3-2) before Rivaldo completed a hat trick and Kluivert grabbed a winner that was consolidated in a less action-packed second leg by a solitary goal from Luis Enrique.

Van Gaal again

Van_Gaal45.jpgIn 2002/03, Barcelona had just welcomed back Louis van Gaal, having finished fourth in the league. It was another Polish side they met, this time Legia Warsaw, who made life hard for the Catalans for much of the game at the Camp Nou, but late Riquelme and Cocu strikes eventually made it 3-0 after Frank de Boer has opened the scoring earlier on. In the second leg it was a penalty from Gaizka Mendieta that saw Barša cruise into the hat for the group stage draw.
Other managerial debuts
Josep Guardiola fourth
The new face on the Barša bench, Josep Guardiola, will make his official debut in a Champions League qualifier against a team yet to be decided. The first leg will be played on August 12-13 and the second on August 26-27.

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