High risk encounter
Barça have never lost under Guardiola when playing immediately after an international break, but have drawn six out of nine games, which shows just what a high risk situation they are in.
The game against Hercules on Saturday presents the added difficulty of returning to domestic
football after so many internationals have been away. In the last two seasons they have drawn more
games than they have won under such circumstances.
Last season there were four international breaks. Barça played away fixtures after
all of them, winning just once (Getafe 0 - Barça 2) and drawing the three others (Valencia
0 - Barça 0, Athletic Club 1 - Barça 1 and Almeria 2 - Barça 2).
In the 2008/09 season, there were five breaks, after which Barça won twice (Athletic Club 0-
Barça 1 and Valladolid 0 - Barça 1) and drew three times (Barça 1 - Racing Santander 1,
Barça 1- Getafe 1 and Betis 2 - Barça 2).
Ten seasons unbeaten after first break
Barcelona have gone ten years without losing after the first break for international duty of
the season, as will be the game against Hercules. With seven wins and three draws, they have scored
21 goals and conceded just three.
But these games have tended to be against relatively weak opposition. Two seasons
ago, Barça were held at home by Racing Santander. In 2007/08, Rijkaard’s side could go no
better than 0-0 against Osasuna in Pamplona, and in 2001/02, Barça slipped at home to Rayo
Vallecano in a 1-1 draw.