This Saturday’s game at Almería could see Barcelona create a new record. If they are victorious in the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos they will have notched up 10 wins from the opening 12 games, a feat never before achieved in the club’s long and illustrious history. Barca have won all five of their away games so far and if they can make it six it will be the club’s best-ever start away from home; it would also equal the record set by Real Madrid in the 1991/92 season when they won the first six games on their travels.
The best that Barcelona has so far managed was in the 1963/64 season when, with César Rodriguez as coach, they reached the twelfth game with a record of 9 wins and 2 defeats, both away from home in 2-0 losses at Athletic Bilbao and Real Zaragoza. In the Camp Nou they had won all six games played until then, including a 6-0 rout of Sevilla.
However, fixture number twelve was El Clásico against Miguel Muñoz’s Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabéu. Needless to say, los blancos weren’t about to do their greatest rivals any favours, going on to inflict a 4-0 thrashing upon them with a hat-trick from Puskas and one from Di Stéfano. Despite their impressive start Barcelona could only finish as runners-up at the end of the season, 4 points behind eventual champions Real Madrid.
We had to wait another 45 years for a similar occurrence, this time in the 2008/09 season, Pep Guardiola’s first in charge. After 11 games Barca’s record stood at 9-1-1, the only defeat coming in the very first game of the campaign when they were beaten 1-0 at Numancia. The following week had seen Racing Santander take a point from the Camp Nou (1-1), so Barca went into the home match with Getafe on the back of nine consecutive triumphs. Yet again it wasn’t to be, the modest outfit from the capital getting a deserved 1-1 draw after Manu del Moral had given them a first half lead only for Keita to equalise. This time, though, the season had a happier ending as the Catalans won every competition they entered.
So November 20, 2010 is Barcelona’s date with destiny in Almería. Will fate once again take a hand and deny Guardiola’s men a place in history? Only a win will do.