With FC Barcelona having scored 125 goals this season, Josep Guardiola vowed to "attack from the first minute" when FC Bayern München arrive at the Camp Nou on Wednesday fresh from a 5-1 weekend Bundesliga loss.
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Josep Guardiola wants his FC Barcelona side to be an irresistible force rather than an immovable object when they meet FC Bayern München in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg.
The Barcelona coach excelled as a defensive midfielder when winning the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1992 but his team have conceded more goals than any of the teams left in the competition. Nonetheless, the 38-year-old has ordered Barça to reproduce the scintillating attacking flair which eliminated Olympique Lyonnais 6-3 on aggregate in the last round and test whether Jürgen Klinsmann's side, beaten 5-1 by VfL 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."
Of course Guardiola does not merely have the threat offered by his attacking quintet of Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o, Thierry Henry, Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta in mind when he demands outright attack in front of a capacity crowd. But 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 Klinsmann played - and can take confidence from a record 12-1 aggregate defeat of Sporting Clube de Portugal 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.
Klinsmann, meanwhile, said he was "not too worried" about injuries to striker Miroslav Klose and Lucio, whose 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 which includes reserve midfielder Holger Badstuber, 20. "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."