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'Away at Camp Nou is the toughest of the lot'

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'Away at Camp Nou is the toughest of the lot'

Postby FCBayernNews » Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:15 pm

Winning the Champions League in 2006 with Barcelona rates as the greatest triumph of Mark van Bommel's career to date. The Dutch ace just spent the one season in Catalonia, also collecting a Spanish league winner's medal in 2005-6.

Wednesday's meeting between Bayern and his former club is a nostalgic affair for the midfielder. "Barcelona are the best of the lot at the moment," the FCB captain said during the build-up. Mark spoke to fcbayern.de about what makes Barca so special, and how they can be beaten.

Mark van Bommel on...

...the club:
"Barcelona's motto says it all: 'Més que un club' - More than a club. It's true as well. Barça symbolise Catalan independence from Spain. You really feel it when you play there. Real Madrid are naturally their biggest rivals. The Catalans hate the fact Real boast more honours. Barça have only won the Champions League twice (1992 and 2006), but Real have won the European Cup and Champions League nine times. Barça have 18 La Liga titles, Real have 31. Barcelona are determined to catch up as quickly as possible."

...Barça President Joan Laporta:
"Señor Laporta is a really great guy. He normally stays out of team affairs, but he's never far away. When necessary, he'll enter the dressing room and say what needs saying. When I played there we won pretty much everything, so we didn't see him very often."

...the training facilities:
"We trained adjacent to the stadium when I was there, but I believe it's improved, as Barcelona have a new facility just outside the city and it's much quieter. I had almost no contact with the head office, very different to Bayern where everything's on the same site. Barcelona's offices are at the stadium, which is always packed with tourists."

...the stadium:
"I'm really looking forward to Camp Nou. You get goose bumps when they play the club anthem. It's only sold out for really big games, like Wednesday's. Otherwise the crowds are 50 to 80,000. It's quite calm when the game's on, but the fans know when they're needed and let loose. After a piece of skill from Messi or Eto'o, their names are chanted for minutes on end, which is really something. The crowd rarely turns on their own team, usually only when they're out of the championship running. I don't think we'll receive a hostile welcome. Barcelona regard Bayern as enemies of Real Madrid."

...the key players:
"Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta and Valdés grab fewer headlines than Messi, Eto'o and Henry, but they're vital to the team. They're top of the hierarchy, they know the club well, and they focus on the team. They're also nearly all Catalan and products of the club's youth system."

...the secret to beating Barca:
"Away to Barcelona is the toughest proposition of them all. But a draw certainly isn't impossible. We need to emulate Manchester United, who drew 0-0 there last season, or Liverpool, who won 2-1 the year before: we need to be well organised and turn up the heat at the right moment. You can't go there thinking you'll pressure them for 90 minutes. You have to pick your moment."
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