The Spanish league became a 20-team division in 1987-88. Since then, 38 games have decided the title. Real Madrid won that first one and the following two with impressive goal-scoring numbers thanks to the Quinta del Buitre. The numbers -- 95, 91 and 107 per season -- were widely commented on for being overblown.
To put them into context, you have to look at the next decade. Johan Cruyff's extraordinary Dream Team only once topped 90 goals (1993-94). And in the 21st century, no team achieved it until Pep Guardiola's first season as Barcelona coach in 2008-09 (105 goals!). Valencia, for example, won the league in 2002 with just 51 goals. Deportivo in 2000 and Real Madrid in 2007 only scored 66.
The explosion of Lionel Messi and the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo proved rocket fuel to the statistics. The voracity with which they scored goals and competed for the Pichichi and Ballon d'Or pushed their clubs to new limits. With CR7, Madrid always scored more than 94 goals -- and in eight of his nine seasons they netted more than 100. In that same time, Messi's Barça always passed 95 goals and in seven of those years, they passed 100. Crazy numbers.
Without Ronaldo, Madrid have only scored 63 and 70 goals in the last two seasons, while Barça, still with Messi, have scored 90 and 86. With these numbers, the two clubs have shared the last two leagues but without the brutal competition of their star players they have come at a cheaper cost in goals.
And now we come to Ronald Koeman's Barcelona, without Luis Suarez but with Braithwaite, Coutinho, Dembélé, Ansu Fati, Griezmann, Messi and Trincao. Add and subtract. With 60 goals, teams fight for the Europa League, with 70, for the Champions League (although Madrid were champions last season with 70, although they only conceded 25) and bettering 80 you can dream of the title. If you hit 90, you can dream of lifting the trophy.
Can Barça think that high? The team started the season with four against Villarreal. Will Messi remain as successful in front of goal as ever? Will it be Ansu Fati's year? Time will tell. The only thing we know is that Koeman's done his numbers and it still asking for a No.9 to complete the squad.