From 1998 to 2019: unbeaten on Champions League debut
In Dortmund the blaugranes extended their record of not losing in their first game of Europe's premier club competition
JOSEP GABERNET LÓPEZ
The run continues. FC Barcelona have now lost on their last 21 debuts in the Champions League, more than any other European club. The present streak started under Louis van Gaal back in 1998 and continued on Tuesday night with Ernesto Valverde and his team's 0-0 draw against Borussia Dortmund in Germany on their debut in the 2019/20 competition.
On 16 September 1998 Louis van Gaal's team drew 3-3 against Manchester United at Old Trafford, former Barça boss Luis Enrique amongst the scorers that day. Also in England back 1998 there was a Champions League debut for one Xavi Hernández, one of the most decorated Barça players of all time. On Tuesday in Dortmund it was the turn of Ansu Fati to make his debut in the competition, setting yet another record during his brief but spectacular career so far with the first team.
21 seasons without losing in the opening is a record that see Barça set apart from their European rivals. Only Bayern Munich with 15 unbeaten debuts and Real Madrid on 12 come close to threatening the blaugrana dominance in this area.
15 group games without defeat
Another impressive statistic is Barça's run of 15 games without defeat in the group stage of the Champions League. Since going down to a 3-1 defeat at Manchester City in November 2016, Barça have not lost in any of their subsequent group matches in the competition.
In short, Barça keep setting new standards in the competition, 21 seasons without losing their first game - a record that seems set to last for a while at least.