Debut in San Mamés
A match between Athletic Club and FC Barcelona is, wherever you look, one of the highlights of each league. Quite a classic. This rivalry has never failed in the appointment, since the creation of the tournament in 1929. And only on the field of Athletic has been played 85 times, with all sorts of results. What is more curious is that the calendar places the San Mamés match so soon. Well, things of the draw, which still allows these freedoms. We think that a Madrid-Barça can no longer fall where it wants, but comes by default before the League calendar is made. We haven't had a match between the two big favorites in one of the first two days in over twenty years ... In the case of Athletic-Barça in the Basque Country, there are eight precedents played in one of the first two days of the competition. In other words, in eight cases Barça have had their first trip to Athletic, as is the case now in the 2016-2017 season. And in these eight precedents ... what happened? Let's go.
1/4 SEPTEMBER 1949. Athletic 3 - Barça 1 It is the first day of the 49-50 League and Barça visit San Mamés as champions of the previous two years. Before the start of the League, in the pre-season, Barça only played two games: at Granollers and at Girona. How things have changed! Athletic clearly prevailed, with goals from Panizo (17 and 37) and Bilbao (65). The only Barça goal came from Basra, in the 74th minute. For Barça they played: Velasco, Navarro II, Calvet, Gonzalvo II, Gonzalvo III, Cerveró, Basora, Seguer, César, Marco Aurelio and Nicolau. 2/11 SEPTEMBER 1960. Athletic 0 - Barça 2 First day of the League 60-61. Helenio Herrera has left and Barça have a new coach: the Serbian Ljubisa Brocic. It can't start better, because with two goals from Czibor (17 and 66) Barça take the victory of San Mamés. The pre-seasons are already more serious and Barça have played six friendlies before their league debut. With level rivals, such as Ajax (3-4 in Amsterdam), Newcastle (also 3-4), Hamburg (2-3) and Standard Liege (2-5). Needless to say, there is euphoria in the Catalan fans, which also confirms the 0-2 of San Mamés. They played: Ramallets, Olivella, Rodri, Gràcia, Gensana, Vergés, Tejada, Kocsis, Evaristo, Suárez and Czibor. A great team.
3/16 SEPTEMBER 1962. Athletic 2 - Barça 3 San Mamés plays again on the first day of the league, but this time the victory will be much more difficult. Mentxaka scored in the first minute, Kocsis tied at 15 and Camps made it 1-2 at 23. Shortly before the break, another tie, with a goal from Arieta. And finally Camps puts the 2-3, in the 68th minute. On the Barça bench is Kubala, leading many of his former teammates. For Barça they played: Sadurní, Foncho, Garay, Gràcia, Vergés, Segarra, Zaballa, Kocsis, Zaldúa, Fusté and Camps. 4/12 SEPTEMBER 1970. Athletic 1 - Barça 1 First day of League and tie in San Mamés. It is Vic Buckingham's Barça, who play Sadurní, Rifé, Gallego, Romero, Torres, Zabalza, Juan Carlos, Martí Filosia, Marcial (Fusté, 78), Pujol and Rexach. A few days earlier he had fallen in the Gamper semifinals by 0-5 against Dinamo Moscow and there are nerves. Pujol scored for Barça in the 30th minute (Rifé's cross from the right and Pujolet's header), but in the second half Uriarte equalized. On the Basque bench, another Briton: Ronnie Allen. After the match Buckingham said it was very difficult to beat San Mamés, which few would. In the whole League only one: Madrid.
5/16 SEPTEMBER 2000. Athletic 3 - Barça 1 In this case the match corresponds to the 2nd day of the League. In the first, Barça had beaten Málaga at the Camp Nou (2-1). But Serra Ferrer's Barça clearly fell to Bilbao, where Barça scored the first goal: Kluivert in the 24th minute. But then Larrazabal (2, all 2 from the penalty spot) and Yeste scored in added time. With 1-1 on the scoreboard, Barça was left with 10, due to the expulsion of goalkeeper Dutruel (62nd minute). And with the 2-1, also Athletic was left with 10 (minute 73). For Barça they played: Dutruel, Reiziger, Abelardo, F. de Boer, Sergi, Gerard (Arnau, 64), Petit, Simao (Dani, 69), Rivaldo, Overmars (Alfonso, 46), Kluivert. Luis Enrique was among the substitutes. 6/14 SEPTEMBER 2002. Athletic 0 - Barça 2 Van Gaal's Barça started the league with a draw at home (2-2) with Atlético and on the second day they beat San Mamés with goals from Luis Enrique (21) and Saviola (36). Three days before the match, Barça were eliminated from the Cup in Novelda (3-2), in a single match. In San Mamés they play: Valdés, Puyol, F. de Boer, Xavi, Fernando Navarro, Mendieta, Cocu, Motta, Saviola (Gabri, 81), Luis Enrique and Kluivert (Geovanni, 77). "Great response" and "Barça see the light", headlines Mundo Deportivo the next day.
7/30 AUGUST 2003. Athletic 0 - Barça 1 We return to the first day of the League to visit Bilbao, now with Rijkaard on the Barça bench. It is his debut in official match. They play Valdés, Puyol, Reiziger, Cocu, Van Bronckhorst, Gerard, Xavi, Ronaldinho, Luis Enrique, Quaresma and Saviola (Overmars, 46). The only goal of the match was scored by Cocu in the 11th minute, when he headed a free kick from Van Bronckhorst. 8/23 AUGUST 2015. Athletic 0 - Barça 1
A year ago the first trip of the League was also to San Mamés. Luis Enrique's men won with a goal from Suárez in the 53rd minute. Rakitic opens on the left, Alba crosses and Suárez scores. Before there was a penalty that Messi could not turn into a goal (Iraizoz stop). For Barça they played: Bravo, Alves (S. Roberto 19), Mascherano, Vermaelen, Alba, Busquets (Bartra 68), Rakitic, Iniesta, Messi, Suárez and Rafinha (Sandro 82). A few days earlier, Athletic had won the Super Cup at Barça, with a 4-0 win in San Mamés. In short, of the 8 precedents of a league debut (on the opposite field) in San Mamés, Barça has 5 wins, one draw and 2 defeats.