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Why are Barcelona playing in the Europa League?

3:01 AM GMT+8 22/02/2022
Barcelona Europa League 202122
GOAL has what you need to know about why the Spanish giants are playing in the Europa League this season instead of the Champions League

With the Champions League knockout stages now underway, viewers might be surprised that La Liga kings Barcelona are not amongst the exciting match-ups.

Liverpool were pitted against Inter while Paris Saint-Germain faced off against Real Madrid in the last 16 stages, but the Blaugrana are not involved in the tournament, instead playing in the Europa League – and GOAL has what you need to know about why.

Why are Barcelona playing in the Europa League?

Barcelona are competing in the Europa League this season instead of the Champions League because they failed to qualify for the knockout round, finishing third in Group E.

Bayern and Benfica were the teams occupying the top two spots in Group E that allowed them to progress to the next round of the elite European knockout competition.

Barcelona's group stage performance was an abysmal one, registering successive 3-0 defeats, at home to Bayern Munich and then away to Benfica.

They did manage two 1-0 wins over Dynamo Kyiv as well as a draw against Benfica, but succumbed to another 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.

They managed to accrue just seven points in the group stage, sending them crashing into the Europa League.

When was the last time Barcelona won the Champions League?

The last time Barcelona won the Champions League was in 2015.

Barcelona defeated Juventus in the final in Berlin 3-1, courtesy of strikes from Ivan Rakitic, Neymar and Luis Suarez.

Alvaro Morata equalised for the Italian side early in the second half, but strike partners Neymar and Suarez put the final to bed with their goals.

It was their fifth time winning the Champions League.

When was the last time Barcelona failed to qualify for the Champions League last 16?

The last time that Barcelona failed to qualify for the Champions League last 16, aside from the 2021-22 season, was in 2000-21.

That season, the Blaugrana finished third in Group H, straggling behind AC Milan and Leeds.

But the last instance of the Catalans failing to qualify for the Champions League outright through the domestic league was in 2003, when they finished sixth in La Liga.