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Barça B are just win away from history. Against Sabadell on Sunday they have the chance to bounce back up to Second Division A after two years in the third tier. And if they can do so, it will be the sixth such promotion in the reserve team’s history.
The method for deciding which teams go up to the second division has varied over the years, and Barça B have done so by simply finishing top of their league, by winning four-team leagues or, as they hope to do this year, winning direct elimination play-offs.
In 1991, they even once got promoted despite not doing so originally, when Oriola were relegated for administrative reasons and the Barça reserves, who had finished second in their league, took their place.
The first of the two times when Barça won direct promotion for winning their league was in 1974 as champions of Division 3 Group III in the days before Division 2A. They also won Division 2A Group I in 1982.
Barça B 81-82 | Horacio Seguí
The playoff system was introduced shortly after, and aside from the administrative promotion in 1991, Barça B faced a playoff group in 1998 consisting of none other than Real Madrid B, plus Cadiz and Cultural Leonesa. A team featuring Puyol, Gabri, Xavi and Jofre Mateu got 4 wins, one draw and just one defeat to go up.
Xavi Hernández in the 1997-1998 playoff
Setting an example
Barça B failed to win their promotion leagues in 2002 and 2003, but did gain promotion in 2010, putting an end to ten seasons in the lower leagues. Coached by future first team boss Luis Enrique Martínez they went into the end-of-season playoffs, but lost on away goals to Poli Ejido. That meant that the team including Bartra, Sergi Roberto, Sergi Gómez, Muniesa and Nolito had to go into a losers playoff, where they beat Jaén and fellow Catalan outfit Sant Andreu to win promotion.
In more recent memory came the 2017 playoff under Gerard López and with Carles Aleñá and Marc Cucurella among the standout players. Barça B again missed out on the chance to seal early promotion, this time against Cultural Leonesa, and instead made it through the back door by beating Cartagena and then Racing Santander in one of the last big nights at the old Miniestadi.
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