El Clasico: How last five Barca bosses fared in their first Madrid clash

By Sports Desk February 29, 2020

Quique Setien may only have been at Barcelona for just over a month, yet he will already know the importance of winning a Clasico.

The new Blaugrana coach takes his side to Real Madrid on Sunday, with his team having a two-point lead over Los Blancos at the top of the LaLiga table.

Barca are unbeaten against their great rivals in their previous seven games, while Madrid have not beaten them in the league since April 2016.

Here we look at how Barca's past five coaches have fared in their first LaLiga Clasicos.

 

PEP GUARDIOLA. BARCELONA 2-0 REAL MADRID. DECEMBER 13, 2008.

Both dugouts featured coaches taking charge of teams in a Clasico for the first time and it was Guardiola who got the better of Madrid's Juande Ramos.

Late goals from Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi earned Barcelona the victory as they moved 12 points clear of Madrid in the table too.

That victory occurred during a 10-game winning streak in LaLiga and it was no surprise that Barca, who beat Madrid 6-2 later in the season, went on to win the title.

TITO VILANOVA. BARCELONA 2-2 REAL MADRID. OCTOBER 7, 2012.

The two clubs had already met in the Supercopa de Espana at the start of the season, Madrid winning on away goals after both teams had won a leg apiece.

Their first league meeting of 2012-13 was all about Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi as both men scored twice in a 2-2 draw.

Ronaldo scored for a record sixth successive Clasico to put Madrid ahead and, after Messi had netted a brace, Los Blancos' Portuguese star took his tally to 160 goals in 155 games since his 2009 move from Manchester United with an equaliser.

 

GERARDO MARTINO. BARCELONA 2-1 REAL MADRID. OCTOBER 23, 2013.

All eyes were on new recruits Neymar and Gareth Bale and it was the former who scored first to set Barca on their way.

Alexis Sanchez would double that lead and though Jese Rodriguez pulled one back, Madrid fell to a defeat that left them six points behind Barcelona after just 10 league games.

Both teams would finish the campaign on 87 points, a total not good enough to win the league as Atletico Madrid claimed 90 to be crowned champions.

LUIS ENRIQUE. REAL MADRID 3-1 BARCELONA. OCTOBER 25, 2014.

The Blaugrana had claimed 22 points from the first 24 available but they suffered defeat at Santiago Bernabeu in October 2014.

Barca debutant Luis Suarez, back after a four-month ban for biting, set up Neymar for a fourth-minute opener but the home side stormed back.

An in-form Ronaldo levelled from the spot with his 21st goal of the season before Pepe and Karim Benzema scored in the second half. This remains Madrid's most recent home LaLiga win over Barcelona.

 

ERNESTO VALVERDE. REAL MADRID 0-3 BARCELONA. DECEMBER 23, 2017.

Los Blancos' awful start to the 2017-18 campaign continued as Barcelona moved 14 points clear of the defending champions with a comfortable win at the Bernabeu.

Suarez, Messi and Arturo Vidal all scored while Madrid, who had beaten Barca in both Supercopa de Espana legs at the beginning of the campaign, had Dani Carvajal dismissed for handball.

It was the first time Barcelona had won three successive league matches at the Bernabeu in Clasico history, and they come into Sunday's game with four straight victories at the ground.

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    Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick said his side's 8-0 demolition of Schalke on the opening day of the Bundesliga season should serve as a benchmark for the rest of the campaign.

    The reigning champions were in scintillating form against a hapless Schalke, storming into a 3-0 lead by half-time thanks to goals from Serge Gnabry, Leon Goretzka and a Robert Lewandowski penalty.

    It got even better for Bayern after the interval as Gnabry completed a hat-trick before Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane and 17-year-old Jamal Musiala completed Schalke's misery.

    While Flick was pleased his side laid down an ominous marker for the 2020-21 season, he still believes they should have scored more in the first half.

    "We have had our first game but we need to take things slowly," he told reporters. "We played brilliantly but should have scored two, three, maybe four more goals in the first half.

    "But it was important to show that we are on the right track this season as well. I am very satisfied with the performance. This is now a benchmark for both Gnabry and Sane and the whole team."

    Sane - making his debut following his July move from Manchester City - felt he slotted in seamlessly with his new team-mates and was pleased with their appetite for goals.

    "It felt very good to be on the pitch with the boys," Sane said. "It was a very good day. I feel completely at ease and knew that it would work out well with the team. Everyone was hungry. Everyone just wanted to attack and give full throttle."

    Sane started his professional career at Schalke before his move to the Premier League in 2016 and he admitted to feeling sympathetic towards his former side after such a crushing defeat.

    "Of course, I was at Schalke for a long time," he added. "To get such a defeat at the start of the season and it goes so haywire is difficult. I'm of course a little sorry."

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    "That was bad," Wagner said. "We didn't play well; Bayern were outstanding. We have to shake ourselves now, accept this bitter defeat and show the reaction against Werder Bremen that we expect of ourselves.

    "It was naive that we wanted to continue going forward after the fourth or fifth goal."

  • Aguero could be out for two more months, says Guardiola Aguero could be out for two more months, says Guardiola

    Manchester City could be without star striker Sergio Aguero for the first two months of their Premier League campaign.

    Aguero missed the conclusion of last season, including City's dispiriting 3-1 Champions League quarter-final defeat to Lyon, after suffering meniscus damage during June's 5-0 win over Burnley.

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    Earlier in the transfer window, it appeared possible Guardiola would have Aguero's international team-mate Lionel Messi to call upon.

    As it is, a considerable weight of the attacking burden at City will now fall upon Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling.

    Sterling and Jesus enjoyed their most prolific seasons individually in 2019-20, scoring 31 and 23 goals respectively across all competitions.

    However, both missed glorious chances during the second half of that sapping defeat to Lyon, with Sterling's particularly glaring as he blazed over a gaping goal from five yards.

    A look at how the Brazil and England forwards compare to Aguero in terms of their Premier League numbers does suggest City might be found wanting when it comes to having a clinical edge.

    Although Sterling outscored Aguero in the English top flight for the first time in his career last term - scoring 20 to his team-mate's 16 - the former Atletico Madrid striker's goals came at a rate of one every 91 minutes, compared to Sterling's average of one every 133 minutes. Jesus' 14 Premier League goals came in at one every 144.8 minutes.

    Aguero's conversion rate of 21.05 per cent also stood above his team-mates, although Sterling ran him close on 20.2 per cent. Jesus netted from 13.86 per cent of his 101 shots, which amounted to more attempts than Sterling (99) and Aguero (76).

    However, the spectre of the Lyon game looms - as it does over much surrounding Guardiola and his squad for their forthcoming season - when considering Opta's 'big chances' metric.

    Despite his well-earned reputation, Aguero was not infallible in such situations, converting 52 per cent of his big chances with 13 scored and 12 missed.

    Sterling's big chance conversion rate was 42.2 per cent, with 19 missed and 14 scored, while Jesus scored from only 29.4 per cent of his most gilt-edged opportunities.

    The 23-year-old Jesus missed 24 big chances, netting only 10. Those are numbers that will have to improve considerably in Aguero's absence if Guardiola's City are to once again locate the relentless rhythm that brought them back-to-back Premier League titles and make a case for dethroning Liverpool.

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