The Derbi barceloní as it is called in the region of Catalonia is one of the biggest football rivalries in Spain, dating a long time back.
History behind the animosity between Barcelona and RSD Espanyol have politics in their root and revolve around the premise which represents Espanyol as a provocative representative of Madrid. Namely, Espanyol are one of the clubs that had been granted a royal patronage and it was founded exclusively by Spanish fans, unlike the multinational nature of Barcelona’s primary board.
The founding message of the club was aimed to contradict Barcelona, which saw Espanyol consider Barcelona as a team of foreigners.
First ever meeting
Barcelona and Espanyol met for the first time ever in 1901 in the Copa Macaya, the predecessor of the Catalan Championship. Barcelona ended up winning the match 4-1 in a game that was played on a pitch at the Hotel Casanovas.
The first ever official match between the two sides occurred in 1929 however, when Barcelona and Espanyol locked horns in the Spanish Championship, today’s equivalent of the Copa del Rey. Espanyol emerged victorious in the match held at the semi-final stage on their way to lift the trophy.
Years and years of hostility ensued, but the rivalry got its peak in June 2007 when La Liga campaing had an eerily similar closure to the one we are witnessing right now, in the 2015-16 season.
The most memorable of them all
Just like today with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, Barcelona were nine years ago embroiled in a three-way title race with Sevilla and Real.
Espanyol were due to travel to Camp Nou on a penultimate day of the season, and ended up ruining Barcelona’s chances of lifting the trophy courtesy of Raul Tamudo’s last minute equalizer, which became the most memorable moment in the rich history of the Catalan derby.
Raul Tamudo went down in history to take his place in the modern folklore with his goal still known and celebrated as the “Tamudazo”.
Thanks to the legendary striker, who snatched a win from the Catalans, Real Madrid were crowned champions the following weekend and fans of the more famous of the two Catalan clubs today fear that history might repeat itself this season.
With Espanyol dangerously close to the relegation zone and Barcelona on course to retaining the Spanish title, the forthcoming Catalan Derby holds great importance. Barcelona need to win in order to remain in the race, while Espanyol are still not mathematically safe from the drop and might be forced to wait until the final game of the season against Eibar to be sure of survival in the Spanish top tier.
Judging by the current form of the rivaling teams, Barcelona are expected to record a clear-cut win, but the form has little importance in derbies like these. Still, the numbers are here to prove Barca’s dominance in the matter.
Barcelona are made firm favourites with the odds of 1/20 stacked in their favour and history suggest that Luis Enrique’s men should not have too many problems dispatching Espanyol on Sunday at Camp Nou.
The weekend’s derby will be the 200th official meeting between Barcelona and Espanyol and the milestone number will only increase the significance of the game despite the fact Barcelona are hugely dominant of the two.
Blaugrana have won 57.3% of their meetings, while Espanyol boast 21.6%.the remaining 21.1% fit in the draw category.
Barcelona’s dominance in the Catalan Derby has been most evident during the last 25 years, with Barcelona winning 30 of the total of 45. On the other side, Espanyol managed only 4 wins during the same period of time.
The Sunday’s showdown at Camp Nou has the potential to become one of the most important yet and it sure is a highly anticipated affair with both sets of fans.
What are your expectations?
Can Espanyol stun Barcelona once again? Can they write another golden chapter in the long history of the Catalan Derby?