The Catalans faced a mammoth task to overturn the four nil deficit against FC Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou. Comebacks against AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain were somehow possible this season. But without Messi this task proved to be too much and a seven nil drubbing from the Germans over the two legs left FC Barcelona licking their wounds and scratching their heads.
totalBarça welcomes you all to the UEFA Champions League Semi Final game between FC Barcelona and FC Bayern Munich!
(Wednesday May 1, 2013 @ 20:45 Barcelona time - Convert to local time). We also have the return of the Match Countdown Timer at the right side of the main page above the Search bar!
Let’s keep this one short and simple. Everyone knows the task ahead, everyone knows of the difficulty. What remains is one shot, one opportunity to make history. Realistically, statistically, and perhaps even logically Barça will bid adieu to the Champions League on Wednesday. Yet sport is so often filled with magic, the improbable and unreasonableness. Sport is not scripted, the conclusion is not predetermined so there is always room for hope. “Hope is what makes us strong. It is why we are here. It’s what we fight with when all else is lost.”
FC Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has spoken about his possible team selection for the Camp Nou match on Wednesday, considering that Bayern have six players who are one yellow card away from suspension. Philipp Lahm, Javi Martínez, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Dante, Luiz Gustavo and Mario Gómez could each miss the possible final in Wembley should they get cautioned.
This will be the mosaic of support prepared by FC Barcelona for Wednesday night’s Champions League return leg against Bayern Munich. This is the 3rd special mosaic of the year. It will read “Barça!, Orgull, Barça!“, which translates as “Barça, Pride, Barça” and is completed with colors of the senyera and azulgrana. The grey sections in the upper terraces are where Bayern Munich travelling supporters will sit and those seats will not be allocated banners.
A number of FC Barcelona’s players made comments to the press after 4-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals. “They are faster and they are stronger. They played better than we did and this Tuesday they were superior. We need to pick ourselves up, play well in the return leg and win La Liga as soon as possible,” said Gerard Piqué. He continued: “I don’t think we need to talk about the referee. They were better and we have to congratulate them.”
<!–more–>Marc Bartra noted that “it’s a difficult day. Losing 4-0 isn’t easy, we have to move forward and finish with our heads held high. We scored against Milan four times, why can’t we score four again?” The full back added: “We need to be optimistic. We owe it to ourselves to finish well. I had two chances to score tonight, that’s not normal, but they didn’t go in. We have to keep on fighting.”
FC Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura spoke at a press conference ahead of the Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich. “The two teams that have featured in the last four Champions League finals are going to play against each other,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a very equal tie, and it’s going to be decided by small details. Hopefully we’ll play the return leg at the Camp Nou like we did against Milan,” said Roura.
FC Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernández talked to the press ahead of the Champions League semi-final between FC Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona. The Barça Maestro underlined that “retaining possession will be key, not having the ball would be the worst possible scenario. We need to control the ball for long periods of time and take control of the game. We know that Bayern are in form, but we’ll try to impose our style of play. The team that imposes its personality will win the tie.”
FC Bayern Munich are already champions of the Bundesliga. They were duly crowned victors on April 6th with a 1-0 win in Frankfurt, with six league matches remaining, and remember it’s only an 18 team league. It was however hardly a surprise when they did win with the gap between themselves and second place around 20 points for most of 2013.
Dominating is the only way to describe their season, which was the plan from the outset. Three years without a trophy was too much for the Bavarian giants to take and combined with Borussia Dortmund’s resurgence inspiring them, Bayern Munich’s board and staff set out to ensure that the trophy drought ended immediately. They won the league with six games left of 34 total, a new German record, and currently sit with 81 points (equaling the all time points total) out of an available 90, winning 26, drawing only three, and losing just once. In route they scored 89 goals (2.97 per game) and conceded a mere 14 (0.47 per game), besting by some distance any of the other current leaders in Europe’s top leagues. This is particularly true defensively, with FC Barcelona, Manchester United, and Juventus allowing 33 (1.03 per game), 35 (1.06 per game), and 20 (0.61 per game) goals respectively. In brief, Bayern Munich are good.
FC Barcelona and FC Bayern Munich, titans of arguably the two strongest footballing nations, face off Tuesday in the first step to determine who will then face one of those other titans in the Champions League final at Wembley on May 25.
Bayern will host the first leg at the Allianz Arena, a stadium that saw Barcelona win 0-2 in a preseason tournament in 2011 and draw 1-1 to get through to the semi-finals of the Champions League during the storied 08/09 treble.
But those were different times.
FC Barcelona midfield maestro Xavi Hernández recently sat down with uefa.com to discuss the club’s philosophy of football, the current situation of the team, and his memories from Wembley. “It’s about doing something extra, not just winning,” says Xavi. “It’s about playing well and then if you manage to win, even better. Barça always try to direct the game, they don’t wait for the opposition but go out and attack, so people identify with the club. Barça fans would never understand if the team were not controlling or dominating a match. That’s the way it has to be.” Describing FC Barcelona’s philosophy, he said that ”football is played to win, but our satisfaction has to be double, other teams win and are happy, but it’s not the same. The identity is lacking. In football the result is an impostor. You can do things really, really well but not win. There’s something greater than the result, more lasting – a legacy.”
SV Hamburger captain and Dutch international Rafael Van der Vaart (30) recently told German magazine Sport Bild that Bayern Munich “has no options” against Champions League semi-final rivals FC Barcelona.
“One player separates Bayern from Barcelona: Lionel Messi,” Van der Vaart said. The Dutch striker knows Pep Guardiola’s Barça well thanks to the two seasons he spent at Real Madrid from 2008-2010.
Tito Vilanova will return to Bayern Munich’s stadium as manager after four years. He was on the bench as first team manager in the second leg of the quarter-finals of the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League, and was responsible for leading the team. The reason Vilanova was in charge that day was that Pep Guardiola was suspended after the first leg at the Camp Nou. He was sent off for protesting a clear penalty on Messi that the referee did not call, instead booking the Argentine with a yellow card. That 2nd leg match, which took place on April 14, 2009, ended 1-1. But it was enough for Barcelona to qualify for the next round because the blaugrana demolished Bayern 4-0 in the first leg at Camp Nou.
Picture credit: MIGUEL RUIZ – FCB
Picture credit: Pere Punti – MD
FC Barcelona must have believed they had done enough to take the tie when Xavi buried a penalty in the final minutes in Paris last week. However a nasty deflected goal in the dying seconds ensured that this quarter-final was far from over. Injuries to both Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano left attack and defence with giant holes to fill and the odds began to stack up against Barça reaching their sixth consecutive semi-final. Barcelona were back to their best at the weekend drilling five goals past a hapless Mallorca, however Carlo Ancelloti’s troops promised not to be such a pushover.
The second leg quarterfinal of the UEFA Champions League between FC Barcelona and PSG is upon us. totalBarça invites you to join in and discuss the game as it happens through our chat.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 @ 20:45 Barcelona time - Convert to local time.
FC Barcelona assistant manager Jordi Roura shared his thoughts ahead of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final match against Paris Saint-Germain.
“We have to approach the match with maximum intensity and maximum ambition. We can’t sit on our advantage. We need to start the match with the singular purpose of winning, that’s the only way we can guarantee ourselves a spot in the semi-finals of the Champions League for the sixth year in a row.”
According to Mundo Deportivo, spokespersons from both FC Barcelona and UEFA denied that referee Wolfgang Stark was punished for bad refereeing at the Parc des Princes for the PSG-Barça game last Tuesday. UEFA has responded to Mundo Deportivo with the following statement: “There has been no punishment for Stark”. The UEFA Referees Committee, chaired by Pierluigi Collina, stated that normally the referees who take part in the quarter-finals don’t get chosen for the semi-finals or the final. They added that a group of referees has already been selected to lead the coming fixtures of the UEFA Champions League.