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Mallorca have nearly a hundred years of history behind them– they’ll be celebrating their centenary in 2016- and they are currently enjoying their longest period in the top flight, having won promotion back to La Liga in 1997. It’s also been their most successful period as a Club, with third place finishes in 1999 and 2001. The team also made their mark in Europe, ending the 98-99 season as runners up in the Cup Winners Cup and making their Champions League debut in 2001 – with a 2-1 win over Arsenal. Last season, Caparros guided them to a respectable eighth place, just three points off a European spot.
THE BARÇA CONNECTION
The close geographical and linguistic links between the two clubs always make this a special game for both sets of fans and the loan signing of Andreu Fontas earlier this season was just the latest chapter in a connection that has included Samuel Eto’o –Miguel Angel Nadal Serrer Ferrer and Laudrup amongst others.
RUN OF WINS
Barça have won nine of their last ten games away to Mallorca, with their only defeat coming in the 2008/09 season, when with the League already won and the Rome Champions League Final a few days off, Guardiola’s team lost 1-2. The biggest win came in the 2002/03 campaign, when a Patrick Kluivert hat trick and a fourth from Marc Overmars gave Barça a 0-4 win. In all, Barça have played twenty seven times in Mallorca, winning fourteen, drawing three and losing ten times, with 42 goals scored and 29 conceded. The last three games have all gone Barça’s way and last season they won 0-2, thanks to goals from Messi and Piqué in a match that saw Barça field 9 home grown players and lose Thiago to two yellow cards.
Mallorca are currently 13th on 11 points and after a decent start to the season they have won just one of their last seven games, with five defeats on the trot. Their last home game was a 0-5 thrashing by Real Madrid , following a 1-2 defeat to Granada after winning their first three games at the Iberostar Stadium against Espanyol, Real Sociedad and Valencia. The long list of injuries that has affected Caparros’ team – with important figures such as Uche and Joao Victor out with long term problems, was this week added to by ex-Barça man Giovanni Dos Santos, who will be out for two to three weeks with a thigh strain.
Joaquin Caparros took over at Mallorca at the start of the 2011/12 season, following four successful years at Athletic Club and he has also managed Deportivo and Seville. Caparros sums up his philosophy of football as: “effort, tenacity and hard work, combined with collective mental strength and talent” and Barça can expect an intense, physical contest on Sunday night.
ONE TO WATCH
Tomer Hemed is Mallorca’s leading scorer with six goals so far this season. The Israeli international joined Mallorca in the summer of 2011 and scored ten times in 35 appearances last season. His great start to this campaign has made him a potential target for a number of top European teams.
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