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Champions League First Knockout Round

Roura: Barca to keep it tight

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura knows the Catalans face the sternest test of their Champions League credentials at Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.

Last Updated: 23/04/13 at 14:38 Post Comment

Jordi Roura: At Monday's press conference

Jordi Roura: At Monday's press conference

The Spaniards, who have won the trophy twice in the past five years and are into their sixth straight semi-final, arrived in Munich needing only to glance at the Bundesliga table to realise what they are up against.

With 81 points, 20 more than their nearest rivals and fellow Champions League semi-finalists Borussia Dortmund, just one defeat in 30 matches and 89 goals scored compared to just 14 conceded, Bayern's domestic record is frightening.

Add to that a 6-1 humbling of Wolfsburg in a DFB-Pokal semi-final a week ago, and the same scoreline to sweep Hannover aside in the Bundesliga on Saturday, then it is clear to see why Barca have arrived in Bavaria with plenty of respect for their hosts.

"It is going to be a very tight tie," assistant coach Roura told reporters as he stood in for Tito Vilanova at the pre-match press conference on Monday.

"It will probably come down to nuances. The side who manages to impose themselves the most on the game will have the best chance.

"We know how good Bayern are, and we know it's going to be hard not only tomorrow, but in the tie overall."

Bayern have steamrolled their way to a 23rd German title, yet that does not scare the Catalans.

BATE Borisov showed how it can be done by getting the better of the Bavarians in the group stage, while Arsenal pushed them to the brink in the last 16.

And Barca would not be Barca if they did not have belief in their own ability.

"We have a good feeling," Roura said. "We will try to play to our strengths and impose our own pace and intensity onto the game.

"We are really looking forward to it."

The Allianz Arena will be packed with 65,000 fans also looking forward to the game with many among the home faithful also eager to catch a glimpse of three-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.

They will have to wait until an hour before kick-off to find out if the Argentinian will start, however, with Roura not wanting to reveal too much.

Messi, who has scored eight goals in the competition so far this season, three more than Bayern's top scorer Thomas Muller, has missed Barca's last three league games due to a hamstring injury which makes him a doubt for Tuesday night.

"He's been feeling good over the past few days, but I don't know how he will feel tomorrow," Roura said.

"We'll make a decision tomorrow after consulting with the doctors.

"He is a special player and whether he plays or not will make a difference."

A special player for what promises to be a special night in Munich when two of Europe's top clubs in terms of tradition and prestige fight it out for a place at Wembley next month.

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