Last week Tito Vilanova’s Barça became the first team in Club history to win its first nine matches out of the opening ten in La Liga. Now another record is within the team’s grasp: Equalling the Club’s best-ever start in the Champions League. The record was set in 2002/03 by Louis van Gaal’s FC Barcelona, when the team won its opening six Champions League group stage matches. This year, the Blaugrana have defeated Spartak Moscow, Benfica and Celtic in their first three games in the competition. If Tito’s men are victorious in Celtic Park on Wednesday (20.45), they’ll become the Barça team with the best opening record in recent memory. No Barça team, with the exception of Van Gaal’s 2002/03 squad, has ever won its first four Champions League group stage matches.

The good results gave Iniesta his debut

One decade ago, the team led by Louis van Gaal won all six of its Champions League group stage matches. Galatasaray, Lokomotiv and Club Brugge all lost to the Blaugrana, who would go on to win the first three group stage matches of the next stage as well.

Victories in the first four games of the group stage allowed the Dutch manager to utilise players from the FC Barcelona youth system in the remaining two games of the round. Thus, Andrés Iniesta made his official debut for the first team on October 29, 2002, against Club Brugge. Ten years later, the Blaugrana midfielder will do his part to help Tito’s team come that much closer to the mark set by Van Gaal’s FC Barcelona.

Three victories, an exceptional start

Since the group stage was implemented in the Champions League in the 1992/93 season, FC Barcelona have only won its opening three games on three occasions. Carles Rexach’s Barça became the first team to win their first three Champions League matches (2001/02 season); Louis van Gaal’s team were the second, in 2002/03, to win their first three European matches, and, finally, Tito Vilanova’s FC Barcelona, this season, became the third team to win their first three games in the Champions League in Club history. In all other editions of the Champions League, FC Barcelona have always drawn or lost at least one of its opening three games.