Bayern München vs. Barcelona  4 - 0

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Bayern domination amazes Robben

1 May 2013 23:38

Arjen Robben has admitted his surprise at Bayern Munich's 7-0 aggregate thrashing of Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

The German side completed the tie with a 3-0 win at Camp Nou on Wednesday night, with the Dutchman netting the first of the night with an excellently taken curling effort.

Bayern will take on Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in the Wembley showpiece and Robben has called for his team-mates to remain calm ahead of the clash on May 25.

He told Sky Sports: "It's a terrific performance. A little bit of history maybe. Playing so well against a team who have dominated Europe over the last five years is amazing.

"I think we have to stay calm. At this moment we're playing great football and we're enjoying it
but we have to stay calm and try and improve over and over again.

"We're in the final for the third time in the last four years now we have to win it.

"We have improved the squad compared to last season and the most important thing of all is that we play as a team. Everyone is doing their job we're organised and that's the main thing in this team.

"You cannot give them space, they didn't really have good chances and we can play football but first you always have to be organised.

"It's going to be a big one [the final]. Dortmund have proven they're a very good side, a very good team it's going to be a game that'll be decided on small details."

Robben's fellow winger Franck Ribery expressed his confidence that Bayern were always capable of such a result and is eyeing a historic treble of the Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB Pokal, a feat never achieved by a German club.

"Above all, we all work together," Ribery added to Canal +. "We want to do something together and we showed it tonight.

"We knew that if we defended well, we could score goals. We always want to win. This year is a good year and we hope to continue like this.

"I hope we will win it this time. Dortmund is a team that is not easy and has a little of our style. It will be a good match. I've already lost two finals, I don't want to lose a third. We'll play as we played tonight."

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Pique ´100 percent´ confident Barca will turn Bayern tie around

30 April 2013 19:27

Gerard Pique is fully confident Barcelona can recover from their first-leg defeat at Bayern Munich to make the UEFA Champions League final.

The Catalan side were thrashed 4-0 in the Allianz Arena, with Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben adding to Thomas Muller's double to leave the newly-crowned Bundesliga champions with one foot of the final.

But Pique insists that Tito Vilanova's side are more than capable of turning the scoreline around, providing they can strike early at Camp Nou on Wednesday night.

He said: "We believe we will turn this around 100 per cent. We need to score a goal as soon as possible to get more and more confident.

"After a 4-0 result you do doubt yourself, but as days go on, you suddenly believe you can do this. Football is very psychological.

"The team is fine, and very confident that we will do all we can to stay alive for the whole match.

"We need to not concede goals, score at least one early on and fight until the end. We represent a club that does not consider giving up, a club that has won a lot and has a long history. We represent Barcelona and we will want to give a good image.

"I remember when I was seven and we lost 4-0 against AC Milan [in the final] and I remember how my father was when we lost. Tomorrow we can be childlike in the sense that we can believe and we can dream, but it is going to be very hard."

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona beat the Germans 4-0 at home in 2009 and, although Pique expects a much tougher test this time round, the World Cup-winner hopes that having the Argentine star fully-fit will be vital if they are to score they goals they need.

"We won 4-0 in 2009 but they are a different team, a lot better team, with a different coach and different players. It is very different. They are much better than that team," Pique continued.

"We have to open up the pitch, have the ball and play fast football. In recent years we have proved we can beat anyone in any situation.

"We need the fans to back us and try to feel we are not knocked out of the Champions League yet. We have to try to find all the right circumstances to win the match. If everything goes in our favour, we can do it.

"Tomorrow we have 90 minutes to hit Bayern psychologically with the help of the fans. They could also score a goal and then to score six goals is a lot tougher. But we believe.

"We know what [Lionel] Messi means. He is the best in the world and to have him in the team is the best news. We need everyone, especially Messi. I do not want us to commit mistakes because we have enough work as it is to play a good match and be better than the opponent.

"We do not have anything to prove because we have done it time and time again. If tomorrow we have enough desire to win, it is because we want to prove we can do it and for the fans. We want to do it for them. The fans are grateful to this team and they deserve for us to play a good match tomorrow."

Article

Vilanova: Barcelona will fight to the end

30 April 2013 19:07

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has promised that his side will "fight to the end" of their UEFA Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.

The La Liga leaders require a significant turnaround to reach the tournament final, having suffered a 4-0 defeat in the first leg of the teams' last-four meeting in Germany.

However, Vilanova is refusing to write off his side's chances, and is expecting a vociferous Camp Nou crowd to boost the team on Wednesday.

"I expect that we will be ourselves - that we will try to be better than Bayern," he said. "We know we have to score, I know we can do that.

"We should be ourselves - that is the important thing. Scoring goals but also playing good football. It is very obvious we cannot concede, it will make it that much harder, but we have to get goals as well.

"The players are aware of the difficulty of the match. We are Barcelona and we cannot take this tie for being lost already. If we do not make it, we have to hold our heads high, fight until the end and have our fans feel proud about us.

"We know we need the fans. It is not the same to have a quiet stadium compared to a stadium full of people cheering. Bayern had everyone cheering for them and that helped them without a doubt. But we cannot always ask the fans for help, we also have to give them something back in return."

Vilanova went on to emphasise the importance of Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi to Barcelona’s hopes, with the pair having been sidelined through injury at various points during the campaign.

"When I said that without Pique we would not be the same team, I mean it. His season has been excellent. The fact that we have conceded goals has to do with the fact some players have been injured," he continued.

"We know how important Messi is in our team especially when it comes to scoring goals. The better he plays, the better for the team. But we cannot put all the pressure on his shoulders, the rest of the team also has to help him. Obviously Messi will have a lot to say in tomorrow's match."

The 44-year-old coach revealed that Javier Mascherano will not feature due to injury, while Sergio Busquets’ participation is also in doubt.

"Mascherano will not be able to play tomorrow. He needs six weeks to recover and only four have gone by, so he will not be in the team," he added.

"Sergio Busquets and some others are still suffering from minor injuries. We will see after the training session if Busquets is fit to play. "

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Heynckes hoping for first leg repeat

30 April 2013 17:30

Jupp Heynckes has encouraged Bayern Munich to show consistency as they eye a place in the UEFA Champions League final.

The newly crowned Bundesliga champions eased to a 4-0 win over Barcelona in the first leg at the Allianz Arena and, although many believe Bayern have a big enough advantage to be confident of their place in the Wembley showpiece, Heynckes is keen for his side to ensure that do not fall victim to a dramatic comeback in Wednesday's second leg at the Camp Nou.

"We can't think too much about the first-leg result," Heynckes said.

"After the match we can evaluate things, but I cannot say which team is the better one. Barcelona have played at such a high level for so many years. Bayern want to prove that the match in Munich wasn't a one-off.

"We have to take into account the rival. We have our philosophy on football and this season we have proved that Bayern are a great team playing top quality football.

"We have our culture and we are capable of scoring goals at Camp Nou."

The 67-year-old's thoughts were echoed by Thomas Muller, although the attacker feels the German club only need to concentrate on the defensive side of the game to ensure progression.

"In football so much can happen. Therefore we need to perform well again and try to prevent them from scoring. Then it should be enough as far as I'm concerned," said Muller.

Bayern have reached two of the last three UEFA Champions League finals, losing 2-0 to Jose Mourinho's Inter side in 2010, and suffering a penalty shoot-out defeat to Chelsea in the final in Munich last year.

Heynckes feels the loss on home soil has been a blessing in disguise for his side and praised the club's reaction to that devastating loss at their home stadium.

"When you experience a final like we did against Chelsea, then you understand all the consequences," he added.

"Some clubs give up, but everyone at Bayern reacted in a very positive way. We made changes, signed good players, modified some things and strengthened the team spirit."

Bayern's chief executive, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, also agreed with Heynckes, insisting the German outfit will be taking nothing for granted in their second-leg meeting with Barca.

"No, we're not relaxed before this journey to Barcelona. We fly motivated and focused to Barcelona because we're aiming for the final on May 25 in London," he said.

"To be relaxed would be the wrong approach. Barcelona are going to put all they have into the game tomorrow, especially at the beginning of the match to make the impossible possible. We need to prevent them from doing that."

And winger Arjen Robben added his thoughts on Bayern's improvement 12 months on from their Champions League final failure.

"We've already said a lot about our formula of success. We perform like a team and we are even stronger in our defence. We've improved a lot from last season. We improved with the added quality of new players. I think that's the reason for us being even stronger.," he said.

"I think he [Uli Hoeness] deserved our support. We're one team, we're one club and we need to stick together. Not only in good times but also if it's difficult. That's my opinion. Not only for our president, but we always need to stick together in difficult times."

Article

Iniesta confident Barcelona are still on top

26 April 2013 01:25

Andres Iniesta insists Barcelona are not ready to be toppled from their perch as the kings of European football.

The Catalan giants suffered a humbling 4-0 defeat against Bayern Munich in the first-leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final on Tuesday, leading some to question if they had been usurped as the continent's premier football team.

But Iniesta - who has won Europe's most prestigious piece of silverware three times with the club, in 2006, 2009 and 2011 - is confident the Spanish outfit are still top of the pile.

"We have won the Super Cup and everything else we've competed in," he said. "To say this is the end of the cycle is unfair, after we have won for so many years and have fought for every available title.

"I think the end of a cycle occurs when a few years go by without winning anything."

Despite his defiance, the 28-year-old admitted the Camp Nou outfit would need to improve in order to continue their success.

"The club has to evolve to continue fighting for everything; the league and the Champions League," he said.

"We have to improve to get past the semi-finals and make the final."

Barcelona must now seek to make history by becoming the first club in the history of the competition to overturn a four-goal first-leg deficit.

Iniesta believes they can do just that.

"If there is even the slightest chance, we have to try," he said.

"At the very least, try to win the game and attempt to pull off the almost impossible.

"What I can say is that the team will face this match with a winning mentality, as if we were playing a final."

Article

Tactics followed to perfection, says Heynckes

24 April 2013 01:57

Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes paid tribute to his players for executing his game plan 'brilliantly' on Tuesday.

Heynckes said the sensational 4-0 trouncing of Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final was a coach's dream.

Two goals from Thomas Muller and a strike apiece from Arjen Robben and Mario Gomez secured a memorable victory at the Allianz Arena.

The win earned Bayern one foot in the final, and Heynckes was thrilled at the all-round effort from his charges.

"We have played extraordinary football all year," he told Sky Sport Germany.

"The appetite for success is huge after the last two years.

"My team made our tactics work brilliantly. We ran and we fought, and that's down to our strength and class."

With Bayern having already wrapped up the Bundesliga and booked their place in the DFB Pokal final, Heynckes is well on course to complete an historic treble before being replaced by former Barca boss Pep Guardiola in the summer.

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Rummenigge: Bayern thrashing Barcelona a ´dream´

24 April 2013 00:11

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge could not contain his delight after watching his side cruise past Barcelona.

The newly-crowned German champions produced a solid defensive display and combined it with some scintillating attacking moves that went a long way to sealing their place in the UEFA Champions League final.

Two goals from Thomas Muller plus second-half strikes from Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben secured the victory for Bayern and Rummenigge admitted he felt like he was in a dream watching the performance from the stands.

"We won 4-0 against the best team in the world," he told Sky Deutschland. "That is like a dream here tonight.

"We played beautifully. We did not give our opponents any chances.

"I do not think Barca ever had a game where they had so few chances.“

Rummenigge, a prolific striker in his playing days for Bayern, was also keen to praise the performance of two-goal hero Muller.

The Germany international was a constant thorn in the side of Barcelona's defence and got his rewards with a goal in either half, but Rummenigge also questioned the fitness of Barca forward Lionel Messi after a quiet match from the Argentine.

"Thomas Muller had a fantastic match," he added.

"But I still think Messi is the number one. I don't think he was completely fit."

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UEFA Champions League: Bayern Munich 4 Barcelona 0

23 April 2013 22:33

Bayern Munich grabbed a strong hold of their UEFA Champions League semi-final with Barcelona thanks a 4-0 first-leg victory at the Allianz Arena.

The German side took the lead as Thomas Muller pounced upon some ponderous Barca defending to nod home, while Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben's solo effort put the gloss on the result before Muller's second made it a rout.

Lionel Messi was declared fit for the game and named in the Barcelona starting line-up alongside 22-year-old defender Marc Bartra. For the hosts, Jupp Heynckes opted to field Gomez in place of the suspended Mario Mandzukic.

Bayern started the game well and tested Victor Valdes in the opening five minutes with an incisive passing move down the right-hand side. Gomez was found inside the penalty area and played a superb back-heel to Robben but the Dutchman could only shoot straight at the goalkeeper.

In the 16th minute, the newly-crowned German champions saw appeals for a penalty turned down by referee Viktor Kassai. Bayern captain Philipp Lahm broke down the right and fired an effort from the edge of the penalty area that appeared to strike Gerard Pique on the arm, but the Germans' protests were waved away.

Nine minutes later, the home side's pressure paid off as they took advantage of some questionable Barcelona defending to open the scoring. A right-wing cross from Robben found Dante at the back post, he rose above Dani Alves and headed the ball across goal to the unmarked Muller who placed his header past Valdes.

The hosts doubled their lead four minutes after the break as Muller returned the favour to Gomez, however, they had a huge slice of luck as the striker was clearly in an offside position as he scored. A Robben corner from the right was won by Muller at the back post; he rose above Alves and placed his header back across goal where Gomez tapped home from inches out.

Eventually, Barca wrestled control of the game back from their hosts, however, despite dominating possession, Manuel Neuer barely had a save to make. The closest the visitors came was in the 69th minute when a loose ball dropped at the feet of Bartra inside the box but the youngster failed to get any power in his shot and Neuer collected easily.

And they were made to pay for their poor finishing in the 73rd minute as Robben added a glorious third goal to give the hosts a commanding lead in the tie. The Dutchman tricked his way past Jordi Alba on the right-hand side before calmly slotting the ball beyond Valdes from a tight angle.

The Germans took absolute control of the tie with eight minutes to play as Muller grabbed his second of the game after more sloppy defending from the visitors. Bastian Schweinsteiger broke from the half-way line before feeding Franck Ribery on the left, he played a neat pass into David Alaba who crossed for Muller to tap home from close range.

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Roura hopeful over Messi fitness

22 April 2013 20:51

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura is hopeful Lionel Messi will recover from a hamstring injury in time to face Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

The Argentine star picked up the problem during Barca's 2-2 draw with Paris Saint-Germain in their first-leg clash in the previous round and has featured just once since, when he came on to fire the Catalan club to victory in the return fixture.

And the Camp Nou coach is desperate to see Messi return for the game at the Allianz Arena, hailing his impact on the Liga leaders.

"There’s no doubt that a player of Leo’s quality has an effect on the way on the way you attack," Roura told a press conference.

"If, unfortunately, he can’t play we have won important games without him. But there is no doubt that it is important for Leo to play against Bayern.

"I can’t say for sure how Messi’s going to be tomorrow. We’ll see how he feels today in training, we’ll listen to the doctors and then we’ll decide. If he’s good then we can count on him."

Roura also challenged his side to emulate the performance they gave against AC Milan in the round of 16, when they recovered from a 2-0 deficit to go through by demolishing the Italians 4-0 at home.

"Every game, every victory is different. This will be a very tight semi-final. It will be won with the small things, the details. We will look to play another extraordinary game like we did at home against Milan," he added.

"We’re really looking forward to it. It’s a game everybody wants to watch. We’re very happy and we’ll do everything we can to get through.

"It's going to be a party, without a doubt, we are going to play with a high intensity, and the team that is able to impose their system and style will have many advantages.

"We'll try to impose our features to control the game. But we know the potential of Bayern."

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Xavi: Barcelona must keep the ball to beat Bayern

22 April 2013 20:03

Barcelona midfielder Xavi has insisted that retaining possession will be key to his side beating Bayern Munich.

The sides go head to head at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday evening in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final tie.

And the Spaniard believes that preventing the hosts from having the ball is vital for the Catalan outfit.

"I think that having the ball is going to be a key part of the game," he told reporters.

"That’s the best scenario. The worst scenario is not having the ball. When we don’t have the ball for long periods of time we can get dozy.

"Tomorrow we’ll be having possession of the ball for long periods of ball and imposing our personality. Bayern are a very complete team, but we know how to play against them. We really want to win."

The 33-year-old went on to acknowledge the strength of Barcelona's opponents but underlined the need for an away goal.

"I think this tie is at 50/50, but we will try to play our style. We know that it is very important to attack right from the start," he added.

"It is important to get an away goal, it's vital. They'll try and impose their game, which is quite similar to ours, but we'll see what happens on the pitch."

Barca could clinch the Liga title next week when they take on Athletic Bilbao but the playmaker says that the Champions League is equally important to his team-mates.

"The league is very important, yes, it’s the title that you play for every week," Xavi continued.

"We said it’s the most important title for us. But the Champions League is a title that really motivates us. We’re in the semi-finals and we want to show our very best."

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Lahm excited for ´football party´ with Barcelona

22 April 2013 18:17

Bayern Munich captain Phillipp Lahm is excited for a "football party" in the UEFA Champions League semi-final clash with Barcelona at the Allianz Arena.

After beating Juventus in the quarter-finals the German champions were drawn with the Catalan giants and Lahm insists he and his team-mates are ready for one of the biggest games of their season.

"We're really looking forward to it," he told reporters.

"It's going to be a football party, therefore we're really looking forward to the match.

"It's the semi-final of the Champions League, if you got this far you definitely want to reach the final but it's going to be a very difficult task.

"Not only the players are looking forward to this match, every football fan is looking forward to it."

The two sides will meet for the first time in three years and Lahm believes Barcelona are still the team to catch in Europe.

"It's an absolute top match against Barcelona," he added.

"If you look at the last years you see that Barcelona has always been the team to beat. They've always been in the semi-finals in the last years and they won it twice in the recent past.

"Barca is an absolute top team."

The full-back is pleased to see his side showing the consistency required to be considered one of Europe's elite like their opponents.

"We developed very well and have been in the final twice in the last four years," he said.

"Now we're in the semis again and that's the development we desired."

Lahm's team mate Javi Martinez also spoke of his excitement ahead of the game, but warned that the Germans must be wary of Barca's entire attack, not just star striker Lionel Messi.

"I am looking forward to the game," he told reporters. "It's my first Champions League semi-final and the motivation is huge.

"We have to stay loyal to our style. We need to maintain a tight shape and play as a team.

"Everybody is looking forward to the game. I have faced Barcelona a couple of times and often tasted defeat. But now I am at a different club and we will not play for the draw tomorrow.

"Messi is the best in the world but Barcelona are not just about Messi. They have quality players all over the pitch."

Article

Heynckes admires Barcelona approach

22 April 2013 17:49

Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes has heaped praise on Barcelona ahead of their UEFA Champions League semi-final.

The 67-year-old admitted facing the Catalan giants was a daunting task given their recent dominance in Europe, and spoke of his admiration for the whole set-up the club have in place to develop their stars.

"I guess it's nothing new if I say that Barcelona not only stamped the European football in the last years, they even ruled it," he said.

"I think it's a team that has got a special philosophy of football and a clear concept.

"They've got many players that have been educated at La Masia for many years. They've not only formed top players, they also know each other very well on an interpersonal level.

"The longer the players play together the better they understand each other, they've got more respect for each other and that's typical for the game of Barca.

"The players harmonise well on and off the pitch."

While acknowledging the strength of their opponents Heynckes was also quick to praise the approach shown by his side this season.

"If I were to sum up the strength of Bayern this season in one word, I would say 'teamwork'," he added.

"We play the most modern football in the club's history. There are so many different things we can do to prepare but spontaneity and intuition are very important in football."

Bayern will be without striker Mario Mandzukic, who is serving a one-match suspension, but Heynckes remains confident he has the fire-power to replace the Croatian.

"I have to say that after the ban of Mario Mandzukic I'm in the lucky position to have two more top strikers in the squad," he continued.

"On the one hand I've got the most successful foreign striker in the Bundesliga [Claudio Pizarro] and on the other hand there's Mario Gomez.

"He's been player of the year, top striker in the Bundesliga and he scored 12 goals in the last Champions League campaign.

"He's got a strike rate like perhaps Gerd Muller had in the past. It's a wonderful feeling to have such players."

But Heynckes would not be drawn on which striker he will opt for at the Allianz Arena.

"First of all I want to talk to both of them and then I'll make a decision who's going to play," he said.

Article

UEFA Champions League Preview: Barcelona v Bayern Munich

22 April 2013 14:57

Barcelona are set to welcome back Lionel Messi for Tuesday's UEFA Champions League semi-final meeting with Bayern Munich.

The Spanish giants are expected to be bolstered by the return of playmaker Messi, who has missed their last two La Liga fixtures, against Real Zaragoza and Levante, with a hamstring injury.

Messi suffered the injury in the first half of Barca's UEFA Champions League quarter-final first-leg clash with Paris Saint-Germain.

The Argentinian sat out their next fixture against Mallorca but came off the bench to help them through to the last four of Europe's premier club competition, courtesy of a 3-3 win on away goals.

After two weeks on the sidelines, Messi is likely to start in Munich on Tuesday, which will be a timely boost for a Barcelona side who have only won two of their previous seven UEFA Champions League games away from home.

Bayern, meanwhile, head into the match full of confidence following a recent run of results that has seen them win eight games in succession, scoring an incredible 32 goals in the process.

Jupp Heynckes' men also recorded a resounding 4-0 aggregate victory over Italian champions Juventus to reach the final four.

Despite Bayern's impeccable form, Spanish midfielder Javi Martinez is still wary of a star-studded Barcelona outfit.

"Unfortunately, everything about them worries me," Martinez told AS. "They're a very balanced outfit and they have the best player in the world.

"And even if (Lionel) Messi has a bad day, he has plenty of team-mates who can do a very good job, such as Pedro, Alexis (Sanchez), (David) Villa, Xavi, (Andres) Iniesta, etc."

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Alves hails magical Messi

22 April 2013 04:29

Dani Alves has stressed that Lionel Messi has 'magical' importance to Barcelona and is key to the Catalans' chances of success.

The Spanish giants were heading for a Champions League exit against Paris Saint-Germain a fortnight ago before Messi came off the bench and proved instrumental in Tito Vilanova's side progressing to the semi-finals.

The Argentina international has missed the Blaugrana's past three La Liga games, however, but has been included in the squad to face Bayern Munich on Tuesday and Alves made no attempts in playing down his importance to the cause.

"Messi knows he is the best player in the world and the power he has to change a game around just with his presence out on the pitch," the Brazilian full-back told AS.

"We needed him against Paris Saint-Germain and sometimes you have to find extra reserves or strength for the benefit of the team.

"Messi's presence changes a lot of things. It frightens our rivals and excites our fans... that is because we are talking about the best, because he has magical powers."

The Brazil international also believes his team-mate's talent is natural compared to Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, whose ability he believes comes from his effort on the training field.

"Messi has an innate talent and Cristiano's comes from hard work, that's the difference. Messi was born with a gift which has allowed him to become the best and he is, he didn't have to work at it, he was born with it," added Alves.

"Cristiano is very good but he has worked to improve and be the best. Messi, on the other hand, works normally and is the best because he has been given a gift by God. That's just my own, humble opinion anyway."

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Barca hold edge over Bayern, says Van Bommel

21 April 2013 19:10

PSV Eindhoven midfielder Mark van Bommel says Barcelona's home advantage in the second leg gives them the edge over Bayern Munich.

The Dutch midfielder, who has represented both clubs, says there is little to choose between the two sides.

But he believes the draw might have tipped things in favour of Barca, who will travel to Allianz Arena on Tuesday before welcoming Bayern to Camp Nou eight days later.

"In such an evenly balanced tie, that could be decisive," van Bommel told FCBarcelona.net.

"Barca have a very good team and have appeared in six consecutive semi-finals, which says a lot.

"We're going to see two great matches. We're going to have a real treat. They are very similar teams. They have the same style of play. They like to pass the ball and are strong in attack."

Van Bommel does not believe Barca's hopes of reaching the final will be unduly affected by the injury-enforced absences of Javier Mascherano and Carles Puyol.

"In Barca's case, they have a great squad and won't miss anyone, although the simple presence of Puyol makes a big impression on the opponent," he said.

"In a year with Barca it was clear to me that he's a special captain – an example to follow."

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Ribery hails ´extraordinary´ Messi

21 April 2013 16:35

Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery believes Lionel Messi is in a class of his own ahead of his side's clash against Barcelona.

The France international is regarded as one of the most exciting attacking players in the game, but even he concedes when it comes to skill, one diminutive dribbler stands head and shoulders above everyone else.

"Messi is class," Ribery told Telefoot. "There is him, and then there is the rest. What he does is extraordinary. He demands admiration."

While Ribery has nothing but respect for Messi, and the Argentine's accomplices at Camp Nou, he insists Bayern are unfazed by the upcoming Champions League semi-final tie.

"Everyone is waiting for this game," the former Marseille man said. "And it is well known that Barca are a great team, but we are not afraid of them."

Ribery has recently been linked with a return to France, with Paris Saint-Germain.

The 30-year-old is intrigued by the project at PSG but says he would like to finish his career at Bayern.

"PSG's interest? It's flattering," Ribery said. "(Sporting director) Leonardo, who spoke to me, is a very important person in PSG. The club is transforming.

"But I am very happy at Bayern and my desire is to finish my career here. And (the feeling) is mutual."

Ribery, who has been capped 72 times by his country, joined Bayern in 2007.

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Messi in Barca squad for Munich

21 April 2013 15:50

Lionel Messi has been included in the Barcelona squad for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final showdown with Bayern Munich.

The Argentine made his return from a hamstring strain in the Barca's 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month, but was not risked in the subsequent La Liga clashes with Zaragoza and Levante.

However, Barca have now confirmed their talismanic forward is in contention for a recall against the newly crowned Bundesliga champions.

"Leo Messi took a full part in training on Sunday morning and although he has not yet been declared match fit by club doctors, he has been included in the squad to face Bayern in Munich," a Barcelona statement read.

The La Liga leaders also revealed Javier Mascherano and Carles Puyol will both miss the clash against the Bavarians through injury, but reserve team goalkeeper Oier has been included in the travelling party.

Article

Xavi ready for ´brutal´ Bayern clash

21 April 2013 15:19

Barcelona star Xavi is anticipating a 'brutal' encounter against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Bayern warmed up for the semi-final tie with two consecutive 6-1 victories against Wolfsburg and Hannover in domestic competition.

Xavi said he was under no illusions as to the size of the task facing Barca.

"Tuesday will be brutal," the 33-year-old told TZ.

"Munich is a city that lives for football. They have one of the most important stadiums in the world, but in the end, of course, we want to be playing in the grand final at Wembley."

A much-changed Barcelona laboured to a 1-0 win over Levante on Saturday, with a late Cesc Fabregas goal ensuring they retained a 13-point advantage over Real Madrid in La Liga.

Despite acknowledging the impressive form of their German counterparts, Xavi said the clash would come down to the finest details.

"True, they are currently in a stratospheric form," the Spain midfielder said.

"But in the Champions League the smallest details decide games. We will do everything we can to achieve a good result in Munich."

Article

Adriano ready for aerial challenge

20 April 2013 19:29

Barcelona defender Adriano doubts he can compete in the air against Bayern Munich's forwards in the Champions League semi-final first leg.

Should he feature in the heart of defence against the German side on Tuesday, the Brazilian could face the likes of Mario Mandzukic, Mario Gomez and Claudio Pizarro, all of whom are powerful target men that the full-back said he might struggle to contain.

"If I have to play (at centre-back) against tall players, I'll need to put springs in my boots," Adriano joked to Mundo Deportivo.

"But playing is the most important thing for me. There is a lot of competition (for places) and we all want to play, but I would be equally happy to play anywhere in a Champions League final."

Adriano spoke about whether he wishes to remain at Barcelona, given that his current deal concludes in 2014, and said there were no talks between himself and the club despite his desire to stay.

"I wish to stay. Currently, negotiations have stopped. Barcelona made their proposals and we made ours, but there is nothing complete," he said.

"I'm happy at Barcelona, because of the trophies I have won, this weather, the supporters, the city, the people ... I really want to stay.

"Sure (I am ready to compromise in terms of contract), no doubt. If there is a chance to find an understanding, I'll do it."

The Brazilian said it was unfair to suggest Barcelona had enjoyed an easy run in the league this season.

"La Liga has never been easy and never will be. People say that it is easy because we win ... If others teams win La Liga then it is (said to be) more complicated," Adriano said.

"We are pleased because at the beginning of season people had doubts about where we would be at this stage but we are doing well. We are happy.

"Without a doubt (we've had a successful season). We have a very good advantage in La Liga. Any team would want this season – have that advantage and be first from the start in the league and be two matches away from the Champions League final."

Article

Van Bommel: Bayern, Barca favourites

19 April 2013 20:48

PSV Eindhoven midfielder Mark van Bommel believes Barcelona or Bayern Munich will win this season's Champions League.

The 35-year-old has enjoyed spells with both clubs during his career, conquering Europe with Barcelona in 2006.

He believes that, despite the quality Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund possess, the other two are the strongest out of the four sides.

"Many are saying that Bayern are slight favourites, but I see things differently. The team that Lionel Messi plays for is never an outsider, and both teams are equally strong," van Bommel told El Mundo Deportivo.

"Bayern Munich and Barcelona are the two best teams in Europe and I am sure that the winner of this tie will win the Champions League."

When asked which side he wanted to progress from their semi-final, van Bommel insisted he did not have a preference.

"I'm neutral. I have played for both clubs, and I had a great time at both, even though I was at Bayern significantly longer," he said.

"I am sure that we will see two special games."

Article

Villa targets Wembley return

19 April 2013 09:31

David Villa says Barcelona are desperate to make it to the Champions League final at the expense of Bayern Munich.

Barca defeated Paris Saint-Germain on away goals in the quarter-finals, booking a showdown with the newly crowned Bundesliga champions.

They are now aiming for a second Wembley final in the past three seasons, having previously won the competition at the expense of Manchester United in 2010/11.

It would be Barca's third European Cup final at the London venue after they also captured the trophy there for the first time in their history in 1991/92.

"We desperately want to return to Wembley again," Villa told El Mundo Deportivo.

The Spain international striker played a key role in his side's Champions League win two seasons ago and he has fond memories of his goal in Barca's 3-1 victory over United.

"That was the most important goal of my career so far," he said.

This season's Champions League final takes place at Wembley on May 25.

Article

Sammer: Guardiola ´has Barcelona in his heart´

18 April 2013 20:07

Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer insists it would be disrespectful to ask Pep Guardiola for advice on how to beat Barcelona.

With the former Barca boss preparing to take charge of the Bundesliga champions, there has been speculation the club could be tempted to turn to the 42-year-old as they look to beat his old club in the Champions League semi-finals.

Sammer feels it would be unjust to put Guardiola in such a position, while insisting current coach Jupp Heynckes' knowledge of Spanish football is already exemplary.

"This situation reminds us that football is about respect. Jupp Heynckes is our coach, and even though he was there a few years ago, he knows a lot about Spanish football," he told Spox.

"Respect also to Guardiola. He has Barcelona in his heart. It would be a problem for him. We will not give him the moral problem of disclosing information about his great love."

Sammer hailed the return of Eric Abidal and Tito Vilanova ahead of the tie, and said his side are progressing well as they look to replace Barca as the 'model' of football.

"Despite the competition, we are very pleased as a club to see Abidal is back in the squad, and that Vilanova is back as coach. We wish them all the best and hope they are at full health," he said.

"They are a very well structured club. From the first team through to the youth players, they have dominated European football for many years. They were the model of football.

"The way they have developed and the way they play football, and how successful they were, will not be wiped out in two games. But we are on the right track."

Sammer moved to play down president Uli Hoeness' concerns that the Bundesliga could become a two-horse race similar to La Liga, saying Bayern's success is all the matters to him.

"Uli thinks about solidarity, I think about success," he told ARD. "I'm a ruthless egoist who wants to win everything."

Article

Fabregas wants El Clasico final

18 April 2013 17:41

Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas is desperate to reach the Champions League final – and to face bitter rivals Real Madrid at Wembley.

The La Liga giants take on Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the last four of the competition and, while he acknowledges the formidable task of defeating the newly crowned Bundesliga champions, the former Arsenal captain is keen for an El Clasico showdown in May.

"I want a Real Madrid-Barcelona final. It would be a very important game in the history of football," Fabregas told radio station RAC1.

"However, first we must think of the semi-final against Bayern. This will be extremely tough, a huge game."

Fabregas spoke about the impact of the returns of Tito Vilanova and Eric Abidal to the Barca camp, revealing how the duo's respective battles against cancer have been inspirations to the squad.

"Tito and Abidal have given us a lot of inner strength to continue to fight until the final," he said.

Article

Shaqiri admits to Barcelona distraction

17 April 2013 01:35

Bayern Munich starlet Xherdan Shaqiri admits that it was tough to focus on their DFB Pokal semi-final ahead of the clash with Barcelona.

The Bavarians were drawn against the La Liga outfit in the last four of the Champions League last Friday - with the first leg scheduled for April 23.

Shaqiri, who was given a starting berth and scored the third goal of Tuesday's 6-1 thrashing of Wolfsburg in the DFB-Pokal semi, said after the clash that concentration had not been easy to maintain.

"We wanted to reach the cup final but it was difficult for us. All talk about Barcelona had made it hard to concentrate. But we did it and had the game under control," the winger said.

Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking lamented the heavy loss, which saw Bayern substitute Mario Gomez score a hat-trick in six minutes late on, after Mario Manduzkic's opener, Arjen Robben's second and Shaqiri's third.

"For 65 minutes, it was a very good game from us but then they came at us hard," he said.

"It should not have happened that we conceded six times with such a performance - it was two or three goals too much. This cannot be explained. But we have big plans and getting to the semi-final has still been a great success."

The visitors pulled a goal back just before half-time to bring the score to 2-1 at the break, but they were unable to capitalise on Bayern's moment of weakness which frustrated Brazilian defender Naldo, who praised his team-mate's performances and bemoaned the slanted scoreline.

"We played very well. We tried to get a result, but the final score is too high - the game did not deserve to finish 6-1," he said.

Article

Messi passed fit for Bayern semi-final

16 April 2013 17:46

Lionel Messi is fit to face Bayern Munich in Barcelona's Champions League semi-final first leg on April 23.

The 25-year-old was told at training on Tuesday he would be ready to play against the Bavarians next week with his hamstring problem a thing of the past.

The Argentine has missed Barca's last two Liga matches with the injury, however, he did come off the bench in between Tito Vilanova side's domestic matches to have a major impact in the Liga giant's second leg with Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month.

The Catalunya club were trailing 1-0 when the four-time Ballon d'Or winner was brought off the bench.

He eventually set up Pedro for the crucial equaliser which ensured their progression into the semi-finals on away goals (3-3 on aggregate).

It remains to be seen whether Vilanova and his assistant Jordi Roura choose to risk playing the forward against Levante on Saturday, though it can be assumed that Messi being rested is a sensible option with second-placed Real Madrid 13 points behind with seven games to go.

Before his injury, the attacker had gone on a record-breaking runof scoring in 19 consecutive Liga matches and tops the Primera Division goalscorer table with 43 goals.


Article

Heynckes prefers Cruyff input to Pep

16 April 2013 14:07

Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has made it clear that he would prefer Johan Cruyff's advice over that of Pep Guardiola.

The Bavarians were paired with Guardiola's former club in Friday's draw for the Champions League semi-finals but the 65-year-old feels the legendary Dutchman would be able to offer more information about Barca.

"Out of respect for his old club Pep can't give away any details about Barcelona, but I don't need him to," Heynckes told reporters.

"I know Spanish football well and I know Barcelona well. If I wanted to call anyone I would choose Cruyff, because he invented Barca's style of play."

Cruyff made 143 appearances for Barca as a player from 1973 until 1978 and was their head coach from 1988 to 1996.

Article

Rummenigge: Happy players created success

15 April 2013 03:51

Bayern Munich chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge believes their success has stemmed from a sense of harmony from within the dressing room.

The Bavarians wrapped up the Bundesliga title last weekend and - with Jupp Heynckes' men still going strong in the Champions League as well as the DFB Pokal - there is growing belief that the German giants can achieve the treble this season.

Rummenigge, who played more than 300 times for the club, said the harmonious dressing-room environment is a contributing factor to the high standard of performances achieved by Bayern this season.

Speaking to SPOX.com, Rummenigge said: "In my experience, if you are successful, the more harmony will prevail from that. Nobody freaks out here and I hope it continues into next season."

Bayern face Wolfsburg on Tuesday in the DFB Pokal semi-finals, and the 57-year-old has warned of complacency ahead of the showdown.

"We know that there is no guarantee to get to the final. We have to work hard and concentrate," he added.

"Our goal is to get to the final. We regularly get there and we want to go back so we will be treating Wolfsburg with respect."

The club legend also refused to be drawn on transfer speculation regarding Mario Gomez, whose future with the German giants is looking tenuous.

Gomez's agent Uli Ferber released a statement claiming his client would seek a move away from the Allianz Arena if his attempts of regaining a starting berth continue to prove futile.

"I have read the statement, but I cannot give an opinion on it because (neither) Mario nor his advisors have spoken to us. I do not know what will happen with Gomez. We will have to wait and see."

Bayern face Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals, with the first leg on April 24 in Germany.

Article

Bayern turn attention to Barcelona

14 April 2013 13:42

Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm says his side are desperate to overcome Barcelona and reach the Champions League final.

The German giants are on course for a famous treble having secured the Bundesliga title with a 1-0 win over Frankfurt on April 6.

They are also in the semi-finals of both the Champions League and DFB-Pokal, but it is the memory of last season's defeat against Chelsea in Munich that stands as a real motivator, according to Lahm.

"We are happy with the win against Nuremberg (a 4-0 Bundesliga victory)," the 29-year-old full-back told Tuttosport.

"And we are motivated for Tuesday's game against Wolfsburg in the DFB-Pokal, but we cannot hide our thoughts are all directed to the match against Barcelona.

"The whole team wants to reach the final in London to erase last season's defeat against with Chelsea."

Bayern's 4-0 aggregate win over Juventus set up the semi-final encounter with the first leg to be played in Munich on April 23.

"When you play games against teams like that, it doesn't matter if you play first at home or away," Lahm said when asked if playing at Camp Nou second was advantageous.

"The important thing is to focus on qualification and to play as we know we can in Munich and Barcelona."

Article

Pep talk not viable, says Heynckes

13 April 2013 21:36

Jupp Heynckes believes Pep Guardiola would reject the opportunity to help Bayern Munich with their upcoming clash with Barcelona.

The former Barca coach will take the Allianz Arena reins in July after leaving Camp Nou last summer but the 68-year-old feels the Spaniard has too much respect for his old club.

"Pep Guardiola wouldn't do us any favours out of respect for his former club," Heynckes told Sky after the match.

"We have a great scouting department, I have two scouts who make me a detailed work-up of every opponent. Moreover, I know everything about Barca."

Bayern rested a number of players for the 4-0 win over Nurnberg on Saturday and Heynckes was delighted with his side's performance under the circumstances.

"The first half was outstanding. We played well and showed great movement. It was great," he said.

"If I said that it was expected, I'd be exaggerating. But that reflects the inner workings of the team. This is Bayern Munich. Everyone wants to contribute to the success.

"Every player can play with us at any time."

Club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, meanwhile, highlighted the impact made by the peripheral members of the team.

"The players who came in again wanted to prove that they rightfully belong to the squad," he said.

"Many of them were highly motivated. You can only salute them. I'm currently enjoying and very relaxed about our football. It's wonderful."

Article

Roura relishes Bayern semi battle

13 April 2013 19:30

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura is pleased his side have drawn Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Barcelona drew 3-3 on aggregate with French club Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-finals but progressed on away goals.

That setup a final-four tie with newly crowned Bundesliga champions Bayern, who they defeated 5-1 on aggregate on their way to the 2009 European title.

The draw also sets up a potential El Clasico meeting with rivals Real Madrid in the final at Wembley in May.

"It's true we always tend to magnify the Clasicos," Roura said.

"Nevertheless this semi-final against Bayern Munich will be very interesting, even though it won't be as big in the media as a Clasico would be.

"But yes this allows us to be more relaxed, not so pressured. But still, we need to be focused as this will be a difficult tie. We are excited be part of it and hopefully win it."

Roura is hoping to have star man Lionel Messi back for the first leg on April 23, but the Argentine will miss Sunday's trip to Real Zaragoza.

Their opponents are just one point above the drop zone, but Roura says that will make them even more difficult to play.

"You saw when we played Celta Vigo, the teams fighting for safety are very dangerous," he said.

"La Liga is approaching its end, so every single point and game is dramatic for them. (Real) Zaragoza have struggled to get points recently.

"But we need to keep our intensity and we need to keep focus to get the points."

Barca can move to within eight points of securing the La Liga title with victory.

And having won the last nine meetings between the two sides, they'll be confident of doing just that.

Article

Beckenbauer wary of Barca

13 April 2013 16:25

Franz Beckenbauer says he would have preferred Bayern Munich be drawn against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semi-finals.

Instead the new German champions will take on Barcelona, a team Beckenbauer described as 'the world's best club side', while Dortmund will play Real Madrid.

The Bavarians are the form side in Europe at the moment, having wrapped up their domestic title last weekend before completing a 4-0 aggregate demolition of Italian champions Juventus in Turin on Wednesday.

However, Beckenbauer admitted he would have preferred to see Jupp Heynckes' men avoid Barca in Friday's draw for the final four of the Champions League.

"My first reaction was from a Bayern perspective, that this was not a 'dream draw'," he told Bild.

"I would have viewed Dortmund as an easier opponent than Barcelona, the world's best club team.

"But my second reaction was: these are two super draws for German football."

Beckenbauer, though, believes both Bundesliga representatives will find it tough against La Liga's top two, even though Bayern were the most impressive performers in the quarter-finals.

"Our team has an incredible stability," the legendary sweeper acknowledged. "We have a very good chance because of the form that we are in.

"But there is (Lionel) Messi, Xavi, (Andres) Iniesta, who were born (to play) for one another."

Article

Antic: Bayern ´worst possible´ draw for Barca

13 April 2013 16:05

Former Barcelona boss Radomir Antic believes Bayern Munich was the worst possible Champions League semi-final opponent for his old side.

The Bavarians have blazed into the final four, dispatching Italian champions Juventus with impressive ease to set up a mouth-watering clash with a side bidding for their third European Cup in five seasons.

Barca are running away with La Liga but former Barca, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid manager Antic feels Tito Vilanova's men will struggle against the newly crowned Bundesliga champions.

"Bayern Munich were the toughest team in the draw," the Serb told SPORT. "They are the form team. They are the worst possible opponents Barca could have been asked to play."

The cause of Antic's concern is the Catalans' porous defence.

The 64-year-old feels it is imperative that Barca get skipper Carles Puyol fully fit for the semis if they are to have any hope of making it to the Wembley final.

"Puyol is not only the captain," Antic said. "He is a player that conveys so many things to his team-mates on the field."

Barcelona will travel to Munich for the first leg on April 23 before welcoming Bayern to Camp Nou the following week.

Article

Zubizarreta wants full focus on Bayern

13 April 2013 15:54

Barcelona director Andoni Zubizarreta does not want the club getting ahead of themselves before their Champions League semi-final.

The Spanish giants will tackle Bayern Munich over two legs for a chance to face off in another Champions League final at Wembley, the scene of their last triumph against Manchester United in 2011.

Zubizaretta believes Barca were guilty of complacency last season before being knocked out by Chelsea, having had their heads turned by the prospect of a Clasico tournament decider against Real Madrid.

With Friday's draw having thrown up the possibility of an all-Spanish final once again, Zubizarretta is praying Barca do not make the same mistake as last year.

"We spoke too much about the final last year and then we didn't get there," the goalkeeping legend told the club's official website. "We need to focus on the semi-finals."

Indeed, Zubizarreta believes that overcoming Bayern, the form side in Europe, will require Barca's full attention.

"We'll see a lot of great football in this semi-final," he said. "It's a game between two great teams with different styles.

"There will be great players, great coaches and great fans, plenty of all those things.

"When I analyse Bayern's club, squad and history I can corroborate that they're a great club, but when I look at our own, I see the same. It's a challenge for us."

Article

Iniesta excited by Bayern clash

12 April 2013 20:56

Barcelona and Bayern Munich players have expressed their excitement after being drawn against each other in the Champions League semi-finals.

The draw in Switzerland on Friday morning saw the dominant forces of La Liga and the Bundesliga paired together, while the two sides who sit in second spot in those respective divisions, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, will contest the other last-four tie.

Barcelona players all seemed encouraged by the draw, with the first leg to be played in Bavaria on April 23, before the return leg on May 1.

"It will be a thrilling tie," Andres Iniesta wrote on Twitter.

Cesc Fabregas and Jose Pinto both expressed their jubilation by saying: "We are going to Munich!"

Meanwhile, various Bavarian stars also gave their thoughts, but opted for a slightly more cautious reaction.

"If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best!" said Claudio Pizarro.

The striker's sentiments were echoed by his team-mate David Alaba who tweeted: "Barcelona in the semi-final! It's a tough job!"

Brazilians Rafinha and Dante both conveyed their emotion by tweeting: "We're going to Barcelona!"

The two teams have both lifted the trophy four times, but only one of them will have the opportunity to make that five at Wembley on May 25.

Article

Heynckes: I would never ask Guardiola for help

12 April 2013 18:36

Jupp Heynckes has reacted angrily to suggestions he could consult Pep Guardiola about Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final with Barcelona.

The former Barca boss will take over the reins at the Allianz Arena in the summer.

But 68-year-old Heynckes has claimed that anyone who believes he would give his successor a call of being disrespectful.

"Please respect me and my work," he said on Friday.

"I have never consulted anyone!"

Looking ahead to the tie, Heynckes said that he is expecting two great games against a team whom he knows well.

"We'll see two very entertaining games. Both teams like to attack and have a solid defence with good tactical awareness," he added.

"I said before the Juventus game that I don't think playing the first leg at home is a disadvantage. Camp Nou is certainly a special stadium and we can expect a fantastic atmosphere there.

"I know Spain football very well because I've always been interested in it, even after I left Spain.

"Barcelona aren't just (Lionel) Messi. They have great players like Xavi, (Andres) Iniesta, (Sergio) Busquets, (Cesc) Fabregas and (David)Villa."

Article

Zubizarreta plots Wembley return

12 April 2013 14:15

Barcelona director Andoni Zubizarreta wants his team to overcome Bayern Munich and seal a return to "a magical place", Wembley Stadium.

Barca were drawn to face Bayern in the semi-finals of the Champions League, the prize on offer a final in London, the scene of the Catalan club's previous European Cup triumphs in 1992 and 2011.

And although Bayern Munich - already crowned Bundesliga champions this season - represent a formidable obstacle for Tito Vilanova's men to overcome, Barca are determined to progress to this year's tournament decider.

"We hope to reach Wembley, a magical place for us," former Spain international Zubizarreta told reporters following the draw in Nyon on Friday.

"We are two great teams, with different styles. But we are going to play our football and enjoy it. That's what we like doing.

"Last season we were knocked out in the semi-finals, but we're going to ignore the speculation and focus on Bayern."

The Catalans will travel to Bavaria for the first leg on April 23 before hosting Jupp Heynckes' men at Camp Nou the following week.

Article

Barca to play Bayern, Real meet Dortmund

12 April 2013 13:07

Bayern Munich will face Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Champions League, while Real Madrid have been paired with Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern, who defeated Juventus 4-0 on aggregate in the quarter-finals, have claimed the continent's top prize on five previous occasions and are desperate to atone for defeat in last year's tournament decider at home to Chelsea.

Barcelona, semi-finalists for the sixth year in succession, are seeking their third Champions League title in five seasons, having gotten past Paris Saint-Germain 3-3 on aggregate, progressing courtesy of the away goals rule.

Barca's fierce rivals Madrid are bidding for a 10th European Cup, while their coach Jose Mourinho is hoping to became the first manager to lift the trophy with three different clubs, having previously prevailed with Porto and Inter.

Madrid defeated Galatasaray 5-3 on aggregate to reach the last four.

Dortmund, having advanced at the expense of Malaga thanks to a thrilling 3-2 victory last week, have made just one previous appearance in the final, in 1997, when they upset Juventus in Munich.

Juergen Klopp's team had the better of Real in their two meetings in the group stages earlier this season, winning 2-1 at home and drawing 2-2 in Madrid.

The first legs will be played on April 23 and 24, with the return fixtures to come on April 30 and May 1.

The final, meanwhile, will take place at London's Wembley Stadium on May 25.

The draw for the Europa League semi-finals also took place in Nyon on Friday, with Chelsea up against Basel and Fenerbahce to meet Benfica.

News

Date Title
01-05 Bayern domination amazes Robben
30-04 Pique ´100 percent´ confident Barca will turn Bayern tie around
30-04 Vilanova: Barcelona will fight to the end
30-04 Heynckes hoping for first leg repeat
26-04 Iniesta confident Barcelona are still on top
24-04 Tactics followed to perfection, says Heynckes
24-04 Rummenigge: Bayern thrashing Barcelona a ´dream´
23-04 UEFA Champions League: Bayern Munich 4 Barcelona 0
22-04 Roura hopeful over Messi fitness
22-04 Xavi: Barcelona must keep the ball to beat Bayern
22-04 Lahm excited for ´football party´ with Barcelona
22-04 Heynckes admires Barcelona approach
22-04 UEFA Champions League Preview: Barcelona v Bayern Munich
22-04 Alves hails magical Messi
21-04 Barca hold edge over Bayern, says Van Bommel
21-04 Ribery hails ´extraordinary´ Messi
21-04 Messi in Barca squad for Munich
21-04 Xavi ready for ´brutal´ Bayern clash
20-04 Adriano ready for aerial challenge
19-04 Van Bommel: Bayern, Barca favourites
19-04 Villa targets Wembley return
18-04 Sammer: Guardiola ´has Barcelona in his heart´
18-04 Fabregas wants El Clasico final
17-04 Shaqiri admits to Barcelona distraction
16-04 Messi passed fit for Bayern semi-final
16-04 Heynckes prefers Cruyff input to Pep
15-04 Rummenigge: Happy players created success
14-04 Bayern turn attention to Barcelona
13-04 Pep talk not viable, says Heynckes
13-04 Roura relishes Bayern semi battle
13-04 Beckenbauer wary of Barca
13-04 Antic: Bayern ´worst possible´ draw for Barca
13-04 Zubizarreta wants full focus on Bayern
12-04 Iniesta excited by Bayern clash
12-04 Heynckes: I would never ask Guardiola for help
12-04 Zubizarreta plots Wembley return
12-04 Barca to play Bayern, Real meet Dortmund

Bundesliga table

# Team MP D P
1 1 +2 3
2 1 +2 3
3 1 +1 3
4 1 +1 3
5 1 +1 3

Primera División table

# Team MP D P
1 1 +3 3
2 1 +2 3
3 1 +2 3
4 1 +2 3
5 1 +1 3