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15.04.2009 12:53

A Champions League 21st century classic


For the fifth time this century, Barça and Chelsea will meet in the Champions League. This time the prize at stake is a place in the final.

For the second season on the bounce, Barça has reached the Champions League semi-finals, just three matches away from the final in Rome. The elimination of Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals has enhanced Barça’s reputation even further and positioned the team among the four best in Europe. It’s the tenth time that Barça has reached the last four of European club football’s top competition although it’s the first time that Barça has drawn Chelsea at this stage. The previous meetings between the two sides have thrown up many interesting facts and figures.

web_7.jpgTies, 2 to 1: The teams have been drawn together in three head-to-head ties with Barça coming out on top in two of them: in the 1999-2000 season, thanks to a spectacular 5-1 after extra time in the Camp Nou, and in the 2005-06 season, with a great victory at Stamford Bridge that paved the way to the final in Paris.

Matches, total equality: In eight matches, each team has won 3, drawn 2 and lost 3. However, Barça has scored one more goal – 15 as compared to Chelsea’s 14.

QM3D9005.jpgChanges on the bench: The managers that have led the two sides into these fascinating encounters are Van Gaal and Rijkaard (Barça) and Vialli and Mourinho (Chelsea). This time the two mangers are making their debut in these meetings: Guardiola for Barça and Hiddink for Chelsea – although they have crossed swords before while Guardiola was still playing, with a favourable balance for Guardiola of 5 wins and one defeat.

web_2.jpgStar players. A host of top class footballers will be involved in this spectacular tie. For Barça there are the likes of Messi, Eto'o, Valdés, Puyol and Xavi while Chelsea can call on Terry, Lampard, Drogba and Cech. And then there are players who have swapped sides over the last few years. Belletti and Deco both moved to Chelsea while Gudjohnsen came in the opposite direction.

manutd-fcb_x2x.jpgThird semi-final against an English club: This will be the third time FC Barcelona has met an English club in the semi-finals of the European Cup/Champions League: Leeds (1974-75), Manchester United (2007-08). Barça failed to reach the final on both occasions.

All Champions League matches Barça v Chelsea

1999/2000 (quarterfinal)
Chelsea, 3 – FCB, 1
FCB, 5 – Chelsea, 1

2004/05 (R16)
FCB, 2 – Chelsea, 1
Chelsea, 4 – FCB, 2

2005/06 (R16)
Chelsea, 1 – FCB, 2
FCB, 1 – Chelsea, 1

2006/07 (group phase)
Chelsea, 1 – FCB, 0
FCB, 2 – Chelsea, 2
A Champions League 21st century classic
Risk for Puyol, Alves and Sergio
Three Barça players will have to be very careful not to be shown a yellow card in the semi-finals. Puyol, Alves and Sergio Busquets are all one card away from a suspension.

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