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Barça are already assured a place in the knockout stages of this year’s Champions League but there is still work to be done to ensure that they top the group. Wednesday brings a trip to Holland, and here’s the lowdown on the side that we beat 4-0 at the Camp Nou in September.
It is largely thanks to the Philips technology company that Eindhoven is what it is today and the same goes for the local football team, which was founded by the company’s workers as Philips Sport Vereniging (PSV) in 1910.
With a population of less than a quarter of a million, Eindhoven is the smallest city to have produced a European Cup winning club. PSV reached the zenith of European football in 1988 under Guus Hiddink.
One of the traditional ‘big three’ of Dutch football, they have won the Eredivisie 24 times, nine times fewer than Ajax Amsterdam but nine times more than Feyenoord.
Particularly in the nineties and noughties, a huge number of players came to Barça via PSV, including Ronald Koeman, Romário, Ronaldo, Gheorghe Popescu, Boudewijn Zenden, Phillip Cocu, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Mark van Bommel and Ibrahim Afellay.
Although it’s clearly changed a lot since then, PSV have played at what was originally the Philips Sportpark and is now the Philips Stadion ever since they were created in 1910.
Since the most recent upgrade in 2002, its current capacity is 35,000.
HEAD TO HEAD
1977–78 UEFA Cup Semi Final
PSV 3 Barça 0
Barça 3 (Rexach 2, Fortes) PSV 1
PSV went on to beat SEC Bastia of France 3-0 on aggregate in the final to win their first major European trophy.
1995-96 UEFA Cup Quarter Final
Barça 2 (Bakero, Abelardo) PSV 2
PSV 2 Barça 3 (Bakero, Figo, Sergi)
Following Sergi Barjuan's dramatic late winner, Barça progressed to the semi finals, where they lost to Bayern Munich
1997-98 Champions League Group Stage
Barça 2 (Luis Enrique 2) PSV 2
PSV 2 Barça 2 (Abelardo, Giovanni)
A poor year for Barça. We finished bottom of a group that also included Dynamo Kiev and Newcastle United. Only the group champions, Dynamo, progressed to the quarter finals.
2018/19 Champions League Group Stage
Barça 4 (Messi 3, Dembélé) PSV 0
THE SEASON SO FAR
We’re thirteen games into the season, and PSV have yet to drop a point in the domestic championship – although they have a tricky trip to Feyenoord coming up next weekend.
With just one point from a 2-2 draw with Tottenham, PSV are already out of contention for a place in the next round of the Champions League but could still qualify for the Europa League.
He impressed for Mexico at the World Cup and he’s impressing again this season, to the extent that few expect Hirving 'Chucky' Lozano to stay in the Dutch league much longer.
Another man to watch is Steven Bergwijn, a young pacey winger who’s also been attracting attention from Europe’s biggest clubs.
Striker Luuk de Jong has been returning almost a goal a game in domestic fixtures and is now PSV’s second highest goalscorer of all time in the Champions League, topped only by Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Mark van Bommel knows Barça well. He was here in the 2005/06 season before going on to Bayern Munich, for whom he was the first non-German captain.
Goalkeeping coach at PSV is also a familiar face. Ruud Hesp was between the sticks at FC Barcelona for 95 games between 1997 and 2000.
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