Puyol / PHOTO: ARCHIVE FCB

On Tuesday at the Camp Nou we will see whether Barça or Milan go on to play Chelsea or Benfica in the semi finals of the Champions League after the first leg ended 0-0 at the San Siro. That’s a result that gives Guardiola plenty of reasons to feel optimistic about his side’s chances, for history is very much on his side. Since he became coach in 2008/09, he has successfully guided the team through 25 out of 27 two-legged encounters. The only ones he has ever lost were in the same season, 2009/10, first in the round of sixteen of the Copa del Rey against Sevilla, and later in the Champions League semi final against Inter Milan.

Drawing the first leg

Guardiola’s Barça has drawn four Champions League first legs, and the players have always responded by eventually sealing qualification. The first case was in 2008/09 when a 1-1 draw away to Olympique Lyon was followed by a convincing 5-2 victory at the Camp Nou. Later in the same competition came one of the most memorable moments of the Guardiola era. Barça and Chelsea met at Stamford Bridge to battle for a ticket to Rome after the game at the Camp Nou had ended scoreless. An Andrés Iniesta strike in the very last instant was enough to secure a 1-1 draw and qualification for the final by virtue of the away goals rule.

The next season, Barça also drew two first legs but went on to qualify. In the first knockout round they crossed paths with Stuttgart and drew 1-1 away before cruising into the quarter finals with a 4-0 win at the Camp Nou. In the following round they met Arsenal and drew 2-2 at the Emirates before a magnificent Leo Messi scored all four goals in a 4-1 win at the Camp Nou that ensured passage into the semis.