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Barcelona warm up for Bayern with win

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Barcelona warm up for Bayern with win

Postby FCBayernNews » Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:15 pm

Barcelona will face Bayern in Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg on the back of a win. In contrast to the German champions, defeated 5-1 by VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday, the Catalan giants eased past Real Valladolid 1-0, and even managed the luxury of resting one or two key individuals.

"I'm proud of my players. They gave it their all, and you can't ask for more than that," commented coach Josep Guardiola, who promptly awarded his men a day off. The Bayern squad spent Sunday morning in training at the Säbener Strasse, working off the previous day's frustration.

Puyol and Iniesta return

Barca's narrow win keeps them six points clear of Real Madrid, 1-0 winners in Malaga, at the top of the La Liga standings. Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, and Brazil right-back Dani Alves, only appeared for the last half-hour of the league fixture, with Thierry Henry spending the entire game on the bench.

Barcelona still dominated proceedings, prompted by a commanding midfield display orchestrated by Xavi, and comeback duo Andres Iniesta and skipper Carles Puyol, both returning from two-week lay-offs. Samuel Eto'o underscored his world-class goalscoring credentials with a lobbed 40th-minute winner.

Match-winner Eto'o

"We played as a team and fought for every loose ball, which is why we won," said the match-winner after moving onto 26 goals in 28 league appearances. In the Champions League, Messi leads the way for Barca with six goals, followed by Henry on four.

The Spanish press now regard the Catalans as overwhelming favourites against the men from Munich. "It's code red at Bayern. That kind of defeat leaves you wounded," claimed Sport. However, Guardiola warned his men not to underestimate their midweek opponents: "The Bundesliga and the Champions League have nothing to do with each other. Bayern's 5-1 defeat is the worst result imaginable from our point of view."

The Spanish coach called on the fans to get behind his side on Wednesday: "There shouldn't be a single empty seat in the house." The Camp Nou holds 96,000 spectators for European ties. "We hope our fans turn out and support us. We need them more than ever before," Guardiola said.
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