Pep Guardiola insists all is not lost as his Bayern Munich side prepares to try and overturn a 3-0 deficit to Barcelona in Tuesday’s Champions League semifinal second leg at the Allianz Arena. The German champions were spectacularly undone by three goals in the final 13 minutes at the Camp Nou last week, with the man Guardiola molded into the world’s best player, Lionel Messi, brilliantly delivering a hammer blow to his former coach’s hopes. Yet Bayern do have form for producing massive second-leg wins, having beaten Shakhtar Donetsk 7-0 and Porto 6-1 at the Allianz Arena in the previous two rounds of this season’s Champions League. And Guardiola has stated that if his team retains their composure, a famous comeback is not beyond them.
“We are Bayern and I never think we have no chance,” he said, reports UEFA.com. “It is not a game we cannot win, but we have to use our heads and our hearts.
“We are 3-0 down and we are up against the best team of the last 15 years. We have to defend well first and foremost and then see how the game goes. You never know what might happen -- for 77 minutes it was 0-0 in Barcelona.
“Of course we have to score goals. We have to make use of the few chances we will probably get, but with our ability, the game will show what we can do. We did not expect to win by such big margins against Porto or Shakhtar Donetsk. We have to be patient. We can't do everything we need to do in 20–25 minutes.”
Ahead of the game, Guardiola again refuted suggestions that he could leave Bayern at the end of the season. But he has faced much criticism after the first-leg defeat, despite the severe length of the club’s injury list. Once again Bayern will be without Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, David Alaba and Holger Badstuber.
In contrast, Barcelona have the world’s most potent attack in devastating form. The trio of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez reached 112 goals in all competitions on Saturday when Neymar scored the opening goal en route to a 2-0 win over Real Sociedad. With Real Madrid only able to draw later in the day, Barcelona now have a four point lead at the top of La Liga with just two minutes remaining. After a shaky start, coach Luis Enrique is well on course to match the achievements of Guardiola’s first season as manager at the Camp Nou by lifting the treble. Still, Enrique is not getting ahead of himself, and is well aware of the threat Bayern could yet pose.
“You can't be too confident as you have to respect your opponent, so we will need to keep our players calm. We know how big Bayern are so we will try our best not to allow them too many chances. They will have their fans behind them, so we will try to keep possession and create as much as possible up front.
“If we take the lead it will be good for us. However, Bayern have the quality to score and did cause us problems in Barcelona. The common goal is to reach the final. The most important thing is to be motivated; of course we have a very good result from the first leg, but it's important the players trust themselves.”
D: Rafinha, Benatia, Boateng, Bernat
M: Lahm, Alonso, Thiago
F: Müller, Lewandowski, Götze
G: Ter Stegen
D: Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba
M: Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta
F: Messi, Suárez, Neymar
Kickoff time: 2:45 p.m. EDT
TV channel: Fox Sports 1