Memories of a heavy weekend defeat may still be painfully fresh but Mark van Bommel and Bastian Schweinsteiger insist that FC Bayern München cannot afford to dwell on past mistakes when they face FC Barcelona.
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Memories of a 5-1 weekend defeat which has left FC Bayern München's Bundesliga hopes hanging in the balance are still painfully fresh, but midfield pair Mark van Bommel and Bastian Schweinsteiger insist the German champions cannot afford to dwell on past mistakes when they face FC Barcelona.
'Put it behind us'
Saturday's heavy loss at VfL Wolfsburg left Jürgen Klinsmann's side fourth in their domestic top flight, although such is the fearsome challenge posed by a UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg at the Camp Nou that Bayern have swiftly had a new objective to focus on. "It doesn't mean much to talk about what happened over the weekend," said Schweinsteiger. "The team's performance wasn't good but we have to put that behind us as soon as possible. Now we're completely focused on this match."
Remarkably, Bayern have a 100 per cent competitive record against Barça at the Camp Nou having triumphed in the UEFA Cup semi-finals in 1996 and UEFA Champions League group stage two years later, and Van Bommel agrees the incentive to make it three from three can serve as a spur to help his team-mates forget their Wolfsburg woe. "It's a positive to face a task as big as this only a couple of days after a bad league defeat," he added. "The intensity of the pressure and our focus on this game means that you can immediately switch off from what happened at Wolfsburg and prepare totally for this great match."
The Dutch midfielder is back in Catalonia after spending a season at Barça in 2005/06 – a year to remember as he helped the team triumph in both the Liga and UEFA Champions League. "I know precisely how good a Barça team we are up against – they might feel uncomfortable about playing Bayern but they're favourites," he explained. "I played here for a year with many of these players and I loved my time here after supporting Barcelona as a boy. That season I discovered Barça is a lot more than a club – it's a symbol of Catalonia. I'm happy to be back."
Bayern are likely to be without two key central defenders against a Barcelona side who have amassed 24 goals in their eight games since qualifying for the group stage – the joint-highest total in the competition along with Bayern – and Van Bommel acknowledges that statistic is a cause for concern. "What makes Barcelona stand out is the tremendous offensive power they possess and I'm sorry that we'll be missing Lucio and possibly Daniel Van Buyten. It's a match where you'd like all your best players available, but that doesn't automatically mean we're going to lose."
'Save our season'
Although Van Bommel knows it will be "complicated" for Bayern to become only the third team this season – after FC Shakhtar Donetsk in this competition and RCD Espanyol in the league – to leave the Camp Nou with a victory, both he and Schweinsteiger are adamant there is nothing to fear. "Whoever plays, Bayern will stand up to Barcelona," Schweinsteiger said. "In these two matches we have a great chance to save our season."