FC Barcelona will have to give it all tonight at the Camp Nou. Inter threatens to prevent Barça from getting out of the group stage for the second consecutive season in the Champions League. There is only one precedent in the history of the Barça club with such a fateful double: 1997-98 and 1998-99.
Despite having a great squad, Louis van Gaal’s Barça was at the bottom of the group in 1997-98 with only five points. They finished behind Dynamo Kyiv (11), PSV Eindhoven (9) and newcastle (7). A hat trick from Faustino Asprilla in Saint James’ Park on the first day (3-2) already anticipated the sad European journey of a Barça who came from winning the Cup Winners with Sir Bobby Robson on the bench and Ronaldo as the star. With Rivaldo and Luis Figo, he was unable to straighten the course and the team experienced its worst night against Dynamo Kyiv in the Stadium with a 0-4 signed by Andriy Shevchenko (3) in stellar plan and Sergiy Rebrov. Barça could only beat newcastle (1-0) in the last game.
A campaign later, fortune turned its back on the Catalans in the draw for an edition whose final was held at the Camp Nou. Barça had to meet the both teams that would reach the final in that season. Bayern Munich (11 points) and the Man Utd (10) buried the Barça dream. Van Gaal and hie team gained only 8 points during the group stage. The campaign started with a hopeful 3-3 in Old Trafford at the European debut of Xavi Hernandez.
Afterwards, they followed up with a 2-0 win over Bröndby. But Bayern won the game both in Munich (1-0) and also at the Camp Nou (1-2). The Italian referee Pierluigi Collina annulled a legal goal to Giovanni. Seven years later he also harmed hill against Frank Rijkaard’s Barça against Chelsea (4-2) in the round of 16 when he accepted a goal by Terry with a prior foul by Carvalho on Valdés.
After losing to the bayern, Barça had to win at home against Manchester United. Rivaldo scored a brace in a great game. But the game ended in another draw (3-3). The ‘red devils’ would end up lifting the cup in May in a crazy final coming back from 0-1 to 2-1 in 101 seconds of added time.
2 More times Barcelona fell from the knockout stage
Since then, Barça fell from the group stage of the Champions League only twice. In the 2000-01, with Serra Ferrer on the bench, Milan and Leeds United finished above Barcelona. Then they did not reach the UEFA final when they fell in the semi-finals against Liverpool.
The next and last hit to date in the European Cup group was last season with seven points behind Bayern (18) and Benfica (7). It was enough to beat the Lisbon team at the Camp Nou, already with Xavi Hernandez as the coach. But it did not go from 0-0. There was no miracle in Munich (3-0) and the sentence was to fall to a Europa League, where the Eintracht Frankfurt literally took over the Camp Nou in the quarterfinals (2-3) kicking out the Azulgrana.
Avoiding the fifth premature KO in the Champions League and the second in a row in a phase of growth and reconstruction is the inexcusable objective of this Barça . Before Inter tonight there is a lot at stake.