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Guardiola warns Barcelona to give Plzeň respect

FC Barcelona may be overwhelming favourites to defeat FC Viktoria Plzeň in Group H, but Josep Guardiola believes they are just the sort of underdogs that could trip up the holders.

Josep Guardiola talks to the press on Tuesday
Josep Guardiola talks to the press on Tuesday ©Getty Images

FC Barcelona, "the strongest team in the world", are overwhelming favourites to defeat FC Viktoria Plzeň in UEFA Champions League Group H on Wednesday but Josep Guardiola believes they are just the sort of underdogs that could trip the holders.

Coach Josep Guadiola

The biggest problem for this match is that this is the Champions League and smaller clubs always pose problems for us. This team have surprised me a lot because they play very well, with real intensity. If you give them time they have the ability to play very well. We have to try to win tomorrow and get as many points as possible before going to San Siro.

Jakub Hora is a second striker, a great player; he's a powerful guy with great vision. Also [Milan] Petržela and the other two left and right wingers are also very dangerous. I have to tell my players about the level these guys are at and to pay attention.

Weekend result
Barcelona 3-0 Real Racing Club (Messi 11 68, Xavi 27)
Valdés; Alves, Piqué (Abidal 9), Puyol, Maxwell; Thiago, Xavi, Iniesta (Keita 72); Pedro (Adriano 74), Messi, Villa

• Lionel Messi moved ahead of László Kubala into second place on the club's all-time scoring list as Barcelona stretched their unbeaten run to 18 games, going back to 30 April. Messi has registered 196 times for Barça and is now chasing César Rodríguez, who scored 235 club goals between 1942 and 1955.

Team news
Gerard Piqué limped off after nine minutes on Saturday with a hamstring complaint on the day Andrés Iniesta returned from a similar problem. Cesc Fàbregas and Alexis Sánchez have torn hamstrings and Ibrahim Afellay is out until the new year after suffering a knee ligament injury in training.

Coach Pavel Vrba
We're up against the strongest team in the world and I hope we don't concede too many. But we can't go into the match thinking about how many goals we are going to let in. Messi is the best player in the world but Barcelona are not just about Messi – there's also Xavi, Iniesta, lots of others. It's going to be tough.

I watched the Racing match and it was typical Barcelona, with nine players going forward before switching to defence. It doesn't matter who they face, they are always offensive and always want to win in style. Yet we're capable of attacking and creating chances ourselves. We will try to take them by surprise. I have explained to the players that we can do it.

If we play with our heads held high we can have a good match. Every side wants to beat Barcelona and it serves as extra motivation. Any Barcelona player would adapt to our team but I don't think we can afford to sign any of them unfortunately.

Weekend result
1. FC Slovácko 1-3 Plzeň (Ondřejka 27; Bakoš 4, Petržela 39, Kolář 78)
Čech; Rajtoral, Čišovský, Bystroň, Limberský; Horváth, Jiráček (Ševinský 90), Petržela (Fillo 85), Kolář (Trapp 89), Ďuriš; Bakoš

• Vrba's side claimed their first win in four games.

Team news
Václav Pilař missed Friday's win after suffering concussion and a head wound in the Czech Republic's play-off clinching 4-1 win in Lithuania last week.

Match fact
Barcelona are 11 European home matches unbeaten, dating back to a 2-1 defeat by FC Rubin Kazan on 20 October 2009. Since then they have claimed nine wins and two draws.

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