Bayern Munich will travel to the Nou Camp with an impeccable record. The club won their 14th consecutive Bundesliga game in a 1-0 defeat of SC Freiburg to set a new record for the highest point in a Bundesliga season, with 84 points.
Barcelona conceded a late equaliser at the stroke of full time on their trip to Bilbao which ended all squared at two goals for either team. The draw hampered the chances of a title celebration for the Blaugranas who will have to wait till coming weekend.
The outcome of both matches will count less as Barcelona look to overturn the 4-0 loss they incurred at the Allianz Arena a week ago. It will be the second time in two days a Spanish team finds themselves in an uphill task against the Germans, after Real Madrid failed to secure a necessary 3-0 win against Borussia Dortmund at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday. Dortmund emerged the first team to qualify for the Wembley showpiece with Bayern the most likely team to join them in a possible all- German final on May 25.
‘Down but not out’ is the perfect theme for Wednesday’s clash, Barcelona will be looking forward to joining Real Madrid, Leixoes SC and FK Partizan; the only three clubs to have recovered a four- goal first- leg deficit in UEFA competition.
The atmosphere at Barca’s training ground suggests the preparedness of the 2011 champions for the task ahead. With Messi back to match fitness after been overshadowed in the first- leg match due to a hamstring problem, Tito Vilanova is backing the world footballer of the year to ‘have things to say’ tonight.
“The more in form he is the better our chances of getting to the final, but we can’t heap this kind pressure on him, we have to try to help him,” Vilanova said.
“A player as good as Messi, at this point in the competition, will have things to say in tomorrow (Wednesday) match.”
This will be Barcelona’s ‘biggest ever challenge.’ The Blaugranas are unbeaten in their previous 21 home games but an away goal will be much desired by the Bavarian giants. Bayern have scored in every single away match in Europe this season and they will work tirelessly to get a goal at Nou Camp tonight.
Brazil international Dani Alves view tonight’s match from a dissimilar perspective, he wants Barcelona to have gone two nil up at least, at half- time.
“We must be 2-0 up at half- time, that’s a minimum requirement.
“We will give everything. For us this is like the final and we are obliged to give 200%.
“If we score quickly it will help us because that will get Bayern thinking and nerves could set in.
“We are a team that increases its level of performance in our very worst moments and we need to be at our very best.
“Bayern might be a big team- but so are we. And if the Germans arrive here relaxed in any way at all that will be a big error. Now is the moment for revenge,” Alves concluded.
One player who understands the situation at hand is Bastian Schweinsteiger, he warned his FC Bayern Munich colleagues that FC Barcelona are ‘capable of great things,’ doubt who is fooling who.
“Barcelona can turn the tie around- they are capable of it,” the midfielder lamented. “Barcelona have been wounded so that makes them dangerous. The first leg has opened the door but we haven’t crossed the threshold yet. It’ll be a difficult match as few teams have stood up to Barcelona at the Camp Nou. We have to be even more focused than in the first- leg. It’ll be tough because Barcelona are capable of great things.”
Six FC Bayern players are just a booking away from missing the Wembley final incase Barca fails to achieve their aims, players like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philip Lahm and Dante are among the six. According to a former Bayern player Oliver Khan, it will be a big ‘risk’ for Coach Jupp Heynckes to rest those players. Nevertheless, the players have to play on a cautious side, which means good timing before going in for a tackle.
Vilanova will have to deal with a long- standing selection headache which now has Carlos Puyol, Javier Mascherano, Sergio Busquet, Eric Abidal and Jordi Alba all ruled out. Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Marc Bartra and Adriano have been tipped to deputise in a makeshift back- four.
Considering the fact that Bayern have already won at Arsenal and Juventus in the knockout stage of this present campaign, Barcelona will need an extra ordinary performance to oust Bayern.