Following an epic comeback against Llagostera in their last game, Barça B have finished second in their Second Division B group and will participate in the play-offs for promotion to Segunda.
Barça B will get the chance to obtain a wonderful reward to their extraordinary season. Culés will also have the opportunity to enjoy this team for a bit longer this campaign. On Friday, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has announced that all non-professional categories in Spanish football have been finalised, and the promotions to higher divisions will be determined through play-offs. Barça B, who were second in the Grup 3 of the Second Division B (the Spanish third tier) when coronavirus stopped all action, will take part in the first round of the play-offs for the promotion to the Second Division.
In the first round the blaugranas will face one of the three fourth-placed teams in the other three groups: Peña Deportiva de Ibiza, Valladolid B or Yeclano. If they make it through to the next stage, they would have to win two more games to accomplish their objective of getting promoted to Segunda. All ties will be one-legged, at a neutral ground and behind closed doors, with a minimum interval of 72 hours between games. There’s still no date nor stadium announced for the clashes, but, as the main novelty, 20 players per squad list and 5 substitutions per side will be allowed every game.
Barça B, licence to dream | Photo by Imago
The 16 teams that will take part in this play-off are:
• Atlético Baleares, UD Ibiza, Atlético de Madrid B and Peña Deportiva, from Group 1
• Logroñés, Cultural Leonesa, Athletic B and Valladolid B, from Group 2
• Castellón, Barça B, Sabadell and Cornellà, from Group 3
• Cartagena, Marbella, Badajoz and Yeclano, from Group 4
A golden comeback
The Second Division B is an extremely challenging competition in which every single point and detail counts, and this gets proven in Barcelona B’s final match. The Catalans were losing by 0–1 against Llagostera at the Estadi Johan Cruyff, in a defeat that would have left them in the fifth position and, as a consequence, outside the play-off spots. However, Jorge Cuenca, in the 82nd minute, and Juvenil A’s Ilaix Moriba, in the 86th, managed to turn the game around as the locals grabbed all 3 points. That was a confidence boost for the young squad, as well as the ticket for the play-offs, without them even knowing it.
Barça have finished with 49 points in 28 fixtures. 13 wins, 10 draws and 5 defeats, with 40 goals scored and 27 conceded. And, above everything, a delightful positional play executed by García Pimienta’s boys that has allowed them to grow collectively and individually with the passing of the weeks. It is safe to say that many times the B’s football has even been more entertaining than the first team’s, and now culés will be able to keep enjoying them in the upcoming play-offs.
What this means for the B and senior squads
The independent clubs, like Sabadell or Cornellà, have complained about the fact that players from Barça B, Atlético de Madrid B and Athletic Club B will resume trainings earlier than the rest. This week the teams from the First and Second Divisions have restarted trainings, while those from the Second Division B haven’t been authorised to do so yet. This can present an unfair advantage for the reserves of first teams, as their youngsters can get selected to train with their respective First Division sides. This is the case of Ansu Fati, Riqui Puig, Álex Collado, Iñaki Peña, Ronald Araújo and Monchu Rodríguez, who will be getting back to full fitness earlier than their opponents as they have been called up by Quique Setién for the next individual training sessions from Barcelona. Monchu, in particular, didn’t take part in many senior trainings, but he completely deserves to do so after a spectacular campaign in which he has finished as Barça B’s top scorer, with 8 goals.
Captain Monchu Rodríguez has finished as the B’s top goalscorer in the league | Photo by Imago
Nevertheless, Barcelona, Atleti and Athletic B can at the same time argue that some of their footballers may be stolen by their first teams if they need them. Since the senior sides will be permitted to make 5 substitutions and call up 23 players per match, they could make use of the B talents often. Ansu, Riqui, Collado…had all been used by Quique before the break, especially considering how short the A squad is.
That said, Barcelona may look to prioritise the play-offs from Barça B, and it is reported that Ansu Fati could be utilised by Pimienta in case he requires him. Furthermore, since in the Second Division B the teams will be able to include 20 footballers in their squad lists, Pimi could deploy several of the Juvenil A teenagers. Ilaix Moriba, Gerard Ferández Peque, Konrad de la Fuente and Antonio Jesús, among others, had all been regulars with the reserves. In their case, Barcelona’s Juvenil A have been declared champions of their league after they had a two-point advantage over Zaragoza. Another terrific job by Franc Artiga, who replaced Víctor Valdés in October.
La Liga chief Javier Tebas talks summer transfers and fan return to stadiums
In a conference held by ADEA Forum (Association of managers and executives of Aragon) in Zaragoza, Javier Tebas spoke on a wide range of topics surrounding La Liga.
Mostly, the La Liga president spoke regarding the league’s bounce back from the pandemic and some potential plans for the league to restore public crowds. He also discussed the losses incurred, the summer transfers, among other things.
The Condition of La Liga
Tebas started the conference by claiming that the situation for the Spanish league is comparatively better than other leagues.
Speaking on this, he said, “The situation is worrying, but not so much. I think that of this pandemic the Spanish League is the one that is going to turn out less badly compared to the others.”
He then spoke about the losses incurred in Spanish football, with the net loss amounting to €1 billion by the 30th of September.
On the losses, Tebas said, “Of this billion, 750 have been financed by banks or investment funds, the latter the majority based in London, and the rest have been done by the clubs pulling their cash.”
Additionally, he mentioned that it was big clubs that were affected stronger than the smaller clubs, due to the huge loss of income from the lack of crowds, among other profitable economic activities that clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona enjoy above others.
A return for crowds to stadiums
When speaking on a return of crowds to stadiums, the La Liga chief seemed tremendously confident in their ability to host crowds as early as tomorrow. He claimed that they would have to run at between 20% to 30% capacity; nonetheless, the Spaniard was confident that teams would be more than capable of hosting crowds very soon.
Speaking on the same, he said, “There is a working group for the return [of fans] to the stadiums. I hope that in the last league games we can see the public in a proportional amount.”
Upcoming transfer window
Speaking on the summer transfer window, the president claimed that there will indeed be a lower amount of transfers as there were in the previous window. Tebas said, “They have already been lower in winter. There may be occasional and exceptional operations, but globally it will decrease. There will be exchanges of players. It’s going to be lower than last year.”
Accordingly, clubs are going to have to dig into their academy reserves more and more as the global and financial situations amend over time.