Through to the knockout stages of the Champions League, holders of an advantage in their first Copa del Rey tie of the season, and leaders of LaLiga, FC Barcelona have had a highly successful spell since the last international break.
Despite the defeat at the hands of Betis this past weekend, FC Barcelona are the outright leaders of one of the tightest LaLiga seasons in recent memory. They are, along with surprise package Alavés, the side with the most points taken since the previous international break. Ernesto Valverde's men have claimed a total of 9 points from a possible 12 in this time, winning three of their four league encounters.
The first game of this period was the visit of Sevilla to the Camp Nou, in a top of the table clash. Barça won out 4-2 at home, leapfrogging the Andalusian side. The big news from the game, however, was the injury suffered by Lionel Messi, who would be forced out for the subsequent 22 days with a broken arm. The Blaugrana hosted both Internazionale and Real Madrid without Messi. In the Champions League match, goals from Rafinha and Jordi Alba gave them a 2-0 win over the Italian giants.
In front of a packed stadium, FC Barcelona took another historic win in El Clásico. Coutinho, Luis Suárez (3) and Vidal scored the goals in a tremendous 5-1 win over the club's arch rivals.
The team kept up the good work with a 2-3 win over Rayo Vallecano away from home, plus a 0-1 victory in the Copa del Rey Round of 32 first leg against Cultural Leonesa. Then, at the Giuseppe Meazza, a 1-1 draw would seal Barça's progress into the knockout stages of the Champions League, with two games to spare. In the final fixture before the international break, Betis sprung a surprise at the Camp Nou (3-4), but the good news for FC Barcelona was the return of Messi with two goals on his comeback, and their continued strong position at the top of the LaLiga table.