10 facts about FC Barcelona's Champions League group stage

10 facts about FC Barcelona's Champions League group stage

Messi set the all-time Champions League goal scoring record, currently at 75 goals The blaugrana led the tournament in completed passes with a staggering 92% success rate

FC Barcelona closed out the Champions League group stage in remarkable fashion, and now head into the knockout stages boasting some of the tournament's best play so far. Here are 10 group stage facts to prove it:

1. Tournament-best passing percentage. Barça led the all 32 teams in this year's group stage with a 92% passing rate. Barça players completed a staggering total of 3,862 passes in six games for a mind-blowing average of 644 passes per game.

2. Least corner kicks against. Barça tied with Atletico Madrid for fewest corner kicks against with just 14 in the six group stage games. In other words, Barça's rivals averaged a paltry 2.33 corners per game.

3. Maximum possession in a game. At GSP Stadium in Cyprus against APOEL Nicosia, FC Barcelona monopolised play with a dominating 74% possession. No other team held the ball more in any one game during this phase of the competition.

4. Second in average possession with 63%. Barça were runners up in this category only by a hair, with Bayern Munich's 64% average possession coming in just ahead.

5. Leo Messi was the second leading scorer. The Barça forward scored eight goals in six matches and was only surpassed by Shakthar Donetsk striker Luiz Adriano's nine goals. Messi's eight goals made history, as he became the leading scorer in Champions League history after surpassing Raul. Messi equalled the former Real Madrid striker after scoring two goals against Ajax at the Amsterdam Arena, and broke the record with a hat trick at APOEL. He then closed out the group stage with a goal against PSG at Camp Nou. Messi's record currently stands at 75.

6. Gerard Piqué had a 99% passing rate. The FC Barcelona central defender attempted a total of 216 passes, of which 214 were successful, good enough for third among defenders. Although it must be noted that the top two were Michael Heylen of Anderlecht and Kostas Giannoulis of Olympiakos who, despite having achieved a 100% passing rate, played a total of just six minutes between the two. Piqué, on the other hand, played 360 minutes.

7. Messi was the top passing forward. Messi led all forwards in the six Champions League group stage matches with an 87% passing rate. He made a total of 267 passes.

8. Dani Alves was the second-best passing defender. The right back made a total of 340 passes in five games. Only Giorgio Chiellini's 461 were better, although the Italian defender played in one more game than Alves.

9. Marc Bartra led defenders with fewest fouls committed. The central defender committed only one foul in 450 minutes played. Forty-one other players also only committed a single foul in this phase of the competition but among them, Bartra played the fourth most minutes. The other 41 players averaged 244 minutes played while Bartra played almost double that number of minutes.

10. Neymar was the most fouled player. The Brazilian was fouled 21 times in the five games he has played in this Champions League — an average 4.2 fouls per game.

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