FC Bayern München coach Jürgen Klinsmann wants his team to "bid an honourable farewell" to the UEFA Champions League when they renew acquaintances with quarter-final opponents FC Barcelona on Tuesday.
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FC Bayern München coach Jürgen Klinsmann is confident there will be no repeat of the stage fright that has all but derailed his side's UEFA Champions League challenge when they face FC Barcelona in the second leg of their quarter-final tie on Tuesday.
A weakened Bayern lineup was brushed aside 4-0 at Camp Nou last week, slipping to their first defeat in this season's competition. Klinsmann's men now have to rewrite UEFA Champions League history to maintain ambitions of a fifth continental crown, and while the former Germany coach admitted that is an all but impossible task, he is determined to make a dignified exit.
'Too much respect'
"It would be unrealistic to say we can go through, but we're going to do everything to win," he said. "In Barcelona, we gave them too much respect; some of our players were overwhelmed." The Bundesliga outfit have received a boost on that front with first-choice defenders Lucio (thigh) and Philipp Lahm (calf) available again after injury, although striker Miroslav Klose (ankle) remains sidelined. "We'll have a lot more stability and self-confidence," added the 44-year-old. "We want to play breathtaking football and bid an honourable farewell to the Champions League."
'Breathtaking' is an adjective which sits comfortably with Barcelona, who handed Bayern their record defeat in the competition in Catalonia. Klinsmann believes Josep Guardiola's side are "probably the best team in Europe at the moment", but hopes victory against the Blaugrana will be the catalyst for a successful end to Bayern's domestic campaign. "If we beat Barcelona, our Champions League season will have been positive," said Klinsmann, who saw his charges move up to second in the Bundesliga after Saturday's 4-0 defeat of Eintracht Frankfurt. "For us, it's very important to learn against a team like Barcelona. They showed us our limits, but it's also good to compare our team to theirs and see where we have to improve."
The result of Barcelona's scintillating first-leg display is that Bayern have to better the exploits of RC Deportivo La Coruña, who overturned a 4-1 first-leg deficit to secure an improbable victory against AC Milan in their 2003/04 quarter-final tie. However, Guardiola suggested he will leave nothing to chance. "We have one foot in the semi-finals but we're taking Bayern very seriously," he said. "We don't have the right to think we're through just because we won the first leg. We have a good advantage, but anything can happen in sport."
French forward Thierry Henry missed Monday's training session with a high temperature and will be replaced by Aleksandr Hleb on the left-hand side of Barça's three-pronged front line should he fail to recover. With Rafael Márquez suspended, Carles Puyol will slip back into central defence, leaving Sylvinho and Eric Abidal, who has recovered from a long-standing thigh problem, to contest the left-back berth. Whoever he sends out, Guardiola will have total faith in his lineup. "They want to win every game; hard games, easy games, it doesn't matter," he said. "They run, they help each other. The rest is talent, but first and foremost they have spirit."