FC Barcelona visit Bilbao on Sunday (8.15pm CET) to face Athletic Club in the second game of the 2016/17 season. It’s a trip that has produced a series of excellent results in recent years.
In ten visits to the Basque city, Barça have won five games, drawn four and lost just once. The one and only loss was on the first ever appearance at the new San Mamés in the 2013/14 season, when the Lions took the three points thanks to a 1-0 win.
Barça have also been to Bilbao on a couple of Copa del Rey trips in the last decade, winning 2-1 in the quarter finals last season and drawing 1-1 in the 2010/11 round of 16 (Barça went on to qualify both times). And there have also been two meetings in the Spanish Super Cup. The 4-0 defeat last summer was nothing like the result that the Catalans were hoping for, but they did win 2-1 in the same fixture in 2009.
So that’s fourteen games at the Cathedral in the last ten years with an overall balance of seven wins, five draws and two defeats. That’s a far cry from the perfect record of twelve straight wins for Barça in recent encounters between the sides at the Camp Nou, but nevertheless it’s an encouraging sign that there could be yet another win when the teams meet this weekend.
Last year’s Super Cup is a blot on what is otherwise a wonderful record for Barça at San Mamés under Luis Enrique, who watched his side win both times they’ve gone to the Bilbao stadium in La Liga. Last season, Barça won 1-0 thanks to a Luis Suárez goal, while the year before they triumphed by an emphatic 5-2, with goals from Neymar, Luis Suárez, Messi, Pedro and on own goal from De Marcos.
Luis Enrique was also there for the aforesaid 2-1 win in the Copa del Rey of 2015/16, won thanks to strikes from Munir and Neymar. All told, that’s three wins and one defeat at San Mamés with the Asturian as manager.