Champions League quarter-final first leg – Kick-off: 19-45 (BST)
Josep Guardiola said his Barcelona side will attack from the kick-off when they meet Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final first leg.
The Barcelona coach has ordered Barça to reproduce the attacking flair which eliminated accounted for Lyon 6-3 on aggregate in the last round and test whether Jürgen Klinsmann’s side, beaten 5-1 by Wolfsburg on Saturday, can withstand the onslaught.
“We will attack from the first minute and attempt to move the ball with speed and purpose for the entire match,” said Guardiola, whose side have scored 125 competitive goals in his debut season as coach, including 28 in this competition.
“Bayern are physically strong but our intention is to play the same way as we’ve done all season and won’t betray our principles. We have to fight on all levels; even the ball boys are important – they have to do their job quickly.”
Bayern have won each of their two competitive matches against Barcelona at the Camp Nou – including a 1995-96 UEFA Cup semi-final in which current Bayern coach Jurgen Klinsmann played – and can take confidence from a record 12-1 aggregate defeat of Sporting in the previous round.
“At this level all opponents are top quality and punish your mistakes,” continued Guardiola.
“I don’t believe we’re favourites. If any team has an advantage it’s Bayern because the return leg is in Munich. We’re very aware of their strength, so let’s see if we can knock them out.”
The coach is still without central defender Gabriel Milito and left-back Eric Abidal but otherwise has a full squad now that Aleksandr Hleb and Yaya Touré have recovered from hamstring and adductor problems respectively.
Klinsmann, meanwhile, said he was “not too worried” about injuries to striker Miroslav Klose and Lucio, while fellow centre-back Daniel Van Buyten could possibly return from compassionate leave in Belgium. Hamit Altıntop has overcome a calf strain and is named in a squad.
“We’ve had injuries during the season and have improvised. We’ll still send out a competitive side capable of holding its own against Barcelona,” said the 44-year-old.
“We’re going to attack and, in that respect, our fans can be happy because they’re going to see a great match between two European giants,” continued Klinsmann.
“I have a lot of respect for Barcelona because they’ve had a magnificent season, and congratulate Josep Guardiola for recreating Johan Cruyff’s philosophy in current times. However, I also think we’re an impressive team. If Guardiola has Messi, I have [Franck] Ribéry who is another genius. The greatness of the Camp Nou gives all the motivation to win my players need because playing in front of 96,000 spectators doesn’t happen every day.”