Pep Guardiola will return to Camp Nou as a coach for the first time since leaving the club in 2012, when he takes his Bayern Munich side to face Barcelona.
The Spaniard, who won 14 trophies during his four years in charge at Barcelona, is looking forward to an emotional return to the club where he cut his managerial teeth.
Describing Luis Enrique’s Barcelona as the “best in the world right now”, Guradiola admitted it would be a poignant return for him and his staff.
“Barça was a possibility among the three, and the fact that they got paired with us makes this semifinal more special,” he said. “It will be a very special match for me, Thiago Alcântara and my staff. I’ve spent my life at Barcelona, that is my home. There’s nothing else to say.
For Bayern to reach the final, they will need to subdue Lionel Messi, who has shown this season that he is back to his scintillating best. Guardiola acknowledges that he will have to construct a strategy to neutralise the four-time World Player of the Year.
“Barça is as great of a team as we are,” added Guardiola. “We need to test and analyze what we can do in each of the two matches. We will attempt to create the best defensive scheme to contain Lionel Messi.
“If we go to Camp Nou and make the same mistakes we made [at Porto], the tie will be decided right there in Barcelona.
“Luis Enrique is making me very happy. It’s his first year and he already can win the treble. Amazing.”
Luis Enrique, meanwhile, brushed aside questions about the return to the club of Guardiola.
Facing a Catalan derby match against Espanyol this weekend, the Barcelona coach said he was focused solely on domestic matters.
“There is only one game and it’s the one this Saturday,” he said. “It’s a derby, with everything that it means for the fans. It’s a key day for us.”