Coach Frank Rijkaard remains confident that reigning champions Barcelona will qualify for the Champions League knockout stage after securing a comfortable to a 2-0 Group A win at Levski Sofia on Wednesday.
To avoid becoming the first the European champions to be eliminated at the group stage, Barcelona must beat Werder Bremen at home in their final group match in two weeks’ time
The German side remain two points ahead of them following their 1-0 win over already qualified leaders Chelsea.
“We know it’s going to be a difficult game but I am very optimistic that we will come out on top and reach the last 16 of Europe’s premier club competition,” Rijkaard said afterwards.
“We have many versatile players who are very good with the ball at their feet and capable of rising to the occasion. That’s what I will ask them to do against Bremen,” he said.
Rijkaard praised Levski for their efforts and acknowledged that his side had been forced to be patient to earn the win.
“It wasn’t a great game of football from us but we were patient and got the result we needed. Levski fought back well after conceding an early goal and never made it easy for us.
“It is sometimes difficult to play against sides like them with the noisy home crowd getting behind their team but the second goal was vital and took the pressure off.”
Levski coach Stanimir Stoilov said his team had benefited from playing “the strongest European teams’ after becoming the first Bulgarian side to qualify for Champions league group stage.
“I think we played very well until the second goal, which took the wind out of our sails. Lapses in concentration did the damage again but we were up against a great team with a wealth of experience and so many options at hand,’ he said.
“We shouldn’t be too disappointed because it is difficult not to make mistakes against teams of Barcelona’s quality.
“It is obvious that we have to work hard to improve and take our game to a higher level, but we have learned so much in our debut season in the Champions League.”
Werder Bremen, aware that a point at Camp Nou will be enough to secure their own qualification, appear in confident mood.
“We knew we were going to need to get something in Barcelona before and we know we’re going to need points there now,” Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf said. “So nothing really has changed.”