Barça - Mallorca / PHOTO: ARCHIVE FCB

Founded in 1916, Mallorca didn’t make their debut in the top flight until 1960 and although they managed five seasons in the first division in the 60s – something they repeated in the 80s and early 90s, their current stay at the top has been their longest – since 1997, and their most successful – with two third place finishes in 1999 and 2001. That period has also seen them win the Spanish Super Cup(1998) and the Spanish Cup(2003) as well as ending as runners up in the European Cup Winners Cup (1999) and the Spanish Cup(1998). In 2001, the club made their Champions League debut – beating Arsenal 1-0 at the San Moix. The 21st century brought more consolidation and success under big name managers such as Gregorio Manzano, Luis Aragones, Hector Cuper or Michael Laudrup, although financial problems led to them missing out on a Europa Cup place in 2010 and in 2005 and last season, they only just survived relegation, finishing in 17th spot both times.

THE BARÇA CONNECTION

There are plenty of connections between Mallorca and FC Barcelona – starting with the islanders’ first ever home game at the Buenos Aires Stadium in 1916, when Barça won 0-8! A year later, Mallorca were admitted to the Catalan Federation’s Second division, which they won in a final playoff in Barcelona. Down the years there have been many players and coaches who have made the journey across the Med between Barcelona and the Balearics: Samuel Eto’o – Mallorca’s all time leading goalscorer, Miguel Angel Nadal – who played more games for the club than any other player in their history-, Serrer Ferrer, Laudrup…. and the close geographical and linguistic links between the two clubs always make this a special game for both sets of fans. Mallorca actually won their first ever trophy by beating Barça in the 1998-99 Spanish Super Cup, following their defeat in the previous season’s Cup Final on penalties to Louis Van Gaal’s Barça with Ruud Hesp saving the final penalty in the shootout after a brave Mallorca, reduced to 9 men, had held out for a 1-1 draw

FORM GUIDE

Mallorca are currently 12th on 36 points – just four points off the European places – and have won three of their last four home games – against Atletico Madrid, Villarreal and Betis, whilst drawing the other against Osasuna and have also managed to take points from their last two away games – a 2-2 draw with Valencia and a 2-3 win in Gijon last Wednesday. It’s been a fairly successful mid-table season so far for the club, having made it into the top ten on a couple of occasions and never dropping below 15th

THE BOSS

Joaquin Caparros took over at Mallorca at the start of this season, following a five match stint at the Swiss team Neuchatel. He had previously spent four successful years at Athletic Club and 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” – qualities his players will certainly need against Barça on Saturday night.