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Vilanova: Messi gives Barcelona reason to believe

While Jupp Heynckes wants FC Bayern München to prove last week's 4-0 defeat of FC Barcelona was no fluke, Tito Vilanova is not giving up hope of a stunning turnaround.

Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova at the hosts' pre-match press conference
Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova at the hosts' pre-match press conference ©AFP/Getty Images

FC Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova insists that if his side are to go down on Wednesday they will go down fighting as the Catalan giants embark on mission impossible: overturning their 4-0 semi-final first-leg defeat at FC Bayern München.

That would represent a record UEFA Champions League comeback but Vilanova says that if any team can do it, his charges can – especially with Lionel Messi in their ranks. The 25-year-old, another eight days fitter than he was last week, is the principal cause of concern for Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes. The veteran coach underlined his respect for Barcelona but is committed to "proving the match in Munich wasn't a one-off".

Tito Vilanova, coach
We need to score goals while playing good football. If we do concede, it would obviously make it much more difficult for us. The players are aware of the task at hand. We're FC Barcelona and we can't take this tie as being lost already. If we don't make it, we have to hold our heads high, fight until the end and make our fans feel proud of us.

We can't focus all our attentions on scoring. We score goals through playing good football. We have to carry on doing what we have done until now and be better than Bayern – plus an early goal always helps. We need the fans behind us. Bayern had everyone cheering for them and that helped them without a doubt. But we can't always ask the fans for help – we have to give them something in return.

We know how important Messi is, especially when it comes to scoring goals. The better he plays, the better it is for the team. But we can't heap all the pressure on his shoulders – the rest of the team have to help. Still, Messi will have a lot of say in the outcome.

If there's a team that can make life difficult for teams [in this situation] it's Barcelona. But if we fail, we have to have fought until the end as we always have in recent years.

Weekend result
Saturday: Athletic Club 2-2 Barcelona (Susaeta 27, Hererra 90; Messi 67, Alexis 69)
Valdés; Alves, Piqué, Abidal (Adriano 46), Alba; Song; Xavi (Messi 59), Thiago Alcántara; Alexis (Iniesta 78), Fàbregas, Pedro.

• It took the initially rested Lionel Messi eight minutes to extend his record of scoring in consecutive Liga appearances to 20 as Barcelona passed 100 league goals for the season. Their lead over Real Madrid CF at the summit now stands at 11 points with five games to go.

Team news
Javier Mascherano is still a fortnight away from returning while Jordi Alba is suspended after his yellow card in Germany and Sergio Busquets is doubtful with a groin problem. Adriano is available following his own one-game ban but Vilanova says his side could end up playing two at the back.

Jupp Heynckes, coach
I have to say Barcelona are still the best team in the world so we will prepare accordingly. They are capable of great things at Camp Nou and we want to avoid that. We will play like we did in Munich, attacking, playing to score – let's see if it works out. We are not a defensive team, even if we do have a good defence.

We can't think about negative scenarios. We have a very clear idea of the game we want to play and I will explain it in detail to my players. I am a positive person, I never think negatively and I trust my team completely. The players will give all they have and we're very motivated to reach the final. We want to prove that the match in Munich wasn't a one-off.

Barcelona have played at such a high level for so many years, world-class football, with a player like Messi, now with a new coach, fantastic club, marvellous football. Messi is the best in the world, extraordinary for his talent and because of his behaviour on and off the pitch. He is fitter than he was in Munich, so he will make things a lot more difficult for us

I have players who have played in all sorts of places and stadiums, but what awaits us at Camp Nou will be spectacular.

Weekend result
Saturday: Bayern 1-0 SC Freiburg (Can 35)
Starke; Rafinha, Van Buyten, Boateng, Contento; Tymoshchuk (Javi Martínez 84), Luiz Gustavo; Shaqiri, Can (Ribéry 74); Mandžukić (Gomez 74), Pizarro.

• Heynckes made ten changes to the team that started against Barcelona, with only Jérôme Boateng retaining his place, but it did not stop his side claiming a tenth successive victory. Bayern set two more Bundesliga records in the process, for most points in a season (84) and most clean sheets (20). Emre Can's winner was his first goal in the Bundesliga.

Team news
Heynckes says he has several minor problems, with Dante's cold chief among them, but he expects to have everyone bar long-term absentees Holger Badstuber and Toni Kroos at his disposal. His greatest personnel concern seems to be over the six players a yellow card away from suspension. Mario Mandžukić is available after serving a one-match ban in the first leg.

Match fact
• Heynckes is one of only three coaches whose team failed to defend a four-goal first-leg advantage in UEFA competition. He was in charge of the VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach side that beat Real Madrid CF 5-1 at home in the 1985/86 UEFA Cup third round, only to lose the return 4-0.

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