It is five seasons since FC Barcelona started a league campaign away from Camp Nou. The draw that has taken place this Tuesday sees Barça begin and conclude their season with a game away from home. You have to go back to the season 2010/11 to find the last time that happened, goals from Messi, Villa and Iniesta giving the blaugranes a 3-0 win in El Sardinero against Racing Santander.
It is not, however, unusual for Barça to start the league on the road. Between 2000 and 2010, it was in fact the norm with seven away matches in ten years to kick off la Liga. The blaugranes’ record in that time was four wins, two draws and just one defeat.
Sixth league debut in Bilbao
One of those games came against their opponents on the opening weekend of this season, Athletic Club. It was 2003 and Barça’s title winning campaign began with a hard fought 1-0 win at San Mamés thanks to goal from Dutchman Philip Cocu.
Prior to that game FC Barcelona had opened the season on four occasions in Bilbao. In 1949 they lost 3-1 but in 1960 and 1962 they recorded a 2-0 win and a 3-2 victory respectively. The only draw came on the opening weekend of the 1970/71 season in a game that ended 1-1.
Curiously, it will be just the second time that FC Barcelona have their first two league games of the season away from home (Athletic and Getafe). That came in the season 1957/58 when Match Day 1 was postponed until after Match Day 4 due to final preparations in the construction of Camp Nou. That year Barça drew 1-1 at Valencia and won 7-0 away at Las Palmas.