As far as bogey teams go, this fixture takes some beating. Barcelona face Malaga tonight looking to continue their good start to the season, and will be confident of victory having won their last 12 games against them in the league. Malaga have beaten Barcelona just twice in their history, but not for over 10 years, failing to win a point against them since. Here is a brief history of the fixture.
3/12/03 Malaga 5-1 Barcelona
Perhaps the result is overstated as Barca were waiting to welcome Real Madrid in the Clasico, but Juande Ramos’ Malaga tore a fragile defence apart on an unforgettable night on the south coast. Barca were without Ronaldinho, though fielded Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, Phillip Cocu. Patrick Kluivert, Javier Saviola, Xavi and now-manager Luis Enrique. Salva Ballesta netted a hat-trick, and this remains Malaga’s last victory against Barcelona.
22/3/09 Barcelona 6-0 Malaga
Malaga briefly left the Primera Liga due to relegation, but returned in 2008/09 to an all-conquering Barcelona side led by Pep Guardiola. The Catalans won the treble that year, arguably their best ever as they played every single opponent off the park in a scintillating era for tiki-taka. Malaga visited in March, unable to halt a strikeforce containing Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o, Thierry Henry and Eidur Gudjohnsen. Xavi, Messi, Henry and Dani Alves each scored and Eto’o grabbed a double to condemn Malaga to a heavy defeat.
2/5/12 Barcelona 4-1 Malaga
If Barcelona reached their peak as the new decade began, Lionel Messi enjoyed the best spell of his career not long after, scoring his 68th goal of the season with a hat-trick against Malaga. It was the year in which Messi broke all kinds of records for his incredible goalscoring feats, and with this treble he surpassed Gerd Muller’s tally for goals in a season. Messi went on to score another five goals in the three remaining games of the season, but Barca bid farewell to Guardiola that season and missed out on La Liga and Champions League joy.
1/6/13 Barcelona 4-1 Malaga
In the final game of the 2012/13 season, Barca lifted the La Liga trophy in front of their home fans on an emotional night at the Nou Camp. David Villa, Cesc Fabregas, Martin Montoya and Andres Iniesta were on the scoresheet as Eric Abidal made his farewell appearance for Barca. He was then given the honour of lifting the La Liga title alongside boss Tito Vilanova, who had missed periods of the season, bravely battling cancer in the USA. It was the last time the trophy was lifted at Barcelona as the club lost out to Atletico Madrid last season.