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22.11.2007 18:00

A demanding fixture calendar

Sandra Sarmiento

Recreativo, Olympique, Espanyol, Deportivo, Stuttgart, Valencia and Real Madrid. These are Barça’s opponents over the next 29 days. It’ll be a stern test before the Christmas break.

Barça face a month full of important matches. They’ll have to play the current La Liga leaders, Real Madrid, as well as Valencia (fourth) and RCD Espanyol (fifth). In addition they have Champions League matches against Lyon and Stuttgart. These five matches (plus two more in the league against Recreativo and Deportivo) will be the perfect test for Rijkaard’s players, a test that starts this Saturday with the visit of Recreativo de Huelva.

Four matches in the Camp Nou

Four of the seven matches will be played in the Camp Nou, where Barça haven’t lost since 5th February 2006. Recreativo and Deportivo de La Coruña have the same number of points (12), and have won the same number of matches (3). However, Deportivo have actually picked up more points away from home than in the Riazor. Meanwhile, Stuttgart, reigning Bundesliga champions, are currently ninth in the German league, nine points behind leaders Bayern Munich and cannot now go on to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

fcb-rm.jpgHowever, the biggest challenge of all will be the visit of Real Madrid – managed by former Barça star Bernd Schuster. They currently top the league table with a four-point lead over Barça. Before coming to the Camp Nou they’ll have to play Murcia, Racing, Athletic Club Bilbao and Osasuna.

Barça have to improve their results away from home and ensure first place in Group E of the Champions League. After the Recreativo match, Barça face difficult trips to Lyon (who can still qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League) and Espanyol, who are enjoying an unbeaten eight-match run. The final away match of this series will be against Ronald Koeman’s Valencia, who equal Barça’s 24 points.

A demanding fixture calendar
The fixtures
- Barça v Recreativo
- Olympique Lyon v Barça
- RCD Espanyol v Barça
- Barça v Deportivo
- Barça v Stuttgart
- Valencia v Barça

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