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23.10.2008 13:18

A strong start in Europe

Roger Bogunyà

FC Barcelona have made a superb start to the Champions League group stage this season and have picked up nine points from a possible nine to take a huge stride towards qualifying for the next stage.

The Blaugrana are in great form and that has also been noted in la Primera, where Pep Guardiola’s team have won their last five consecutive matches. But it is in Europe that the team has really shone with three wins from their opening three games that has seen them move clear at the top of Group C.

The only teams with three wins

basel-fcb_x7x.jpgIt may only appear to be three matches on the surface, but each game in the Champions League is a new test. The best demonstration of just how tough it is record such a run is that Barçá are the only one of the 32 teams in the competition to have won all three of their opening group games.

Goals galore

It can also be said that all three wins have been deserved after strong performances and, above all, creating plenty of chances. The team has scored ten goals in their trio of games, which gives them an average of 3.3 goals-per-game. Only Arsenal have an equal record. Another important factor is that eight of the ten goals have been scored by homegrown players .

Leaders in possession

xakhtar-fcb_x2x.jpgBarça are not only out in front in terms of goals though. Also they are the only team in the competition to have had more than 60 per cent possession (62 per cent exactly). Real Madrid are second with 58 per cent. The Blaugrana are second in number of chances created with 24, behind Villarreal who have 27, and also in free-kicks won with 58, with Bayern Munich above them on 68.
A strong start in Europe
The first time since 2002/03
FC Barcelona have not won all three of their opening Champions League group games since 2002-03, when Louis van Gaal was in charge of the team. One that occasion Barça went on to win all six as well as the three in the mini-league that followed, to add to the two in the qualifying round, totalling eleven consecutive wins.

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