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Lionel MessiEuropean champions FC Barcelona will need to hit the ground running after being paired with AC Milan in their opening UEFA Champions League Group H fixture of the new season.

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The sides have met 11 times in UEFA competition, recording four wins each and three draws. Barcelona’s record in five home games against Milan reads W2 D2 L1. Their most memorable encounter was the 1994 UEFA Champions League final in Athens, which Milan won 4-0; it remains the most emphatic final win of the UEFA Champions League era.

The clubs also contested the 1989 UEFA Super Cup; Milan prevailed again, winning 1-0 at home following a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou.

AC Milan have not won in their last two visits to the Camp Nou, recording a defeat and a draw since a 2-0 win in Barcelona in the 2000/01 first group stage.

Xavi, Andrés Iniesta, Carles Puyol and Víctor Valdés were on the losing side as Milan claimed a 1-0 group stage victory against FC Barcelona on 20 October 2004. The Spanish internationals were 2-1 winners when the sides met again a month later at the Camp Nou, Clarence Seedorf and Gennaro Gattuso also appearing in both games.

The teams last met in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League semi-finals, Ludovic Giuly scoring in Milan to give Frank Rijkaard’s side a 1-0 first-leg lead. The return fixture finished goalless, taking Barcelona into the final. The lineups for that game on 26 April 2006 were: FC Barcelona: Valdés, Belletti, Márquez, Puyol, Van Bronckhorst, Edmílson, Deco, Iniesta, Giuly (Larsson 69), Eto’o (Van Bommel 89), Ronaldinho; AC Milan: Dida, Kaladze, Costacurta (Cafu 64), Stam, Serginho, Gattuso (Rui Costa 68), Seedorf, Pirlo, Kaká, Shevchenko, Inzaghi (Gilardino 79).

FC Barcelona are unbeaten  in  ten home games since a 2-1  loss  to FC Rubin Kazan  in  the 2009/10 group stage, although a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid CF in last season’s semi-final second leg ended a run of nine straight wins at the Camp Nou.

Josep Guardiola’s side have competed in the initial group stage of UEFA competition on 16 occasions, including the final edition of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup in 1991/92, and have only once lost their opening game, 3-2 at Newcastle United FC in 1997/98.

AC Milan have won the opening fixture in their last ten group stage campaigns but have gone three games without scoring a European goal and won only one of their four away fixtures in last season’s UEFA Champions League.

Categories: UEFA Champions League