Former Barcelona colleagues lock horns with each other in a game that Luis Enrique Martinez believes is the most attractive game in Europe to seal their spot in the grandest fixture in the footballing world a Champions League final. Speaking to the press ahead of the heavyweight clash, the Barcelona manager discussed various aspects of the game including a reunion with old pal Pep Guardiola, his penchant for the word treble and the influence of home crowd.
Luis Enrique heaped praise on the Bayern Munich manager stating that the Bavarians have now espoused the Pep Guardiola way of playing football and added that they are the amongst the European elites under the Spaniard. However, he denied making things personal as he stated that theya re concerned only about the club and not the individual representatives of the club.
“I believe that Bayern, since Guardiola became the coach, have a slightly different playing style. He has maintained the positive aspects and added his own touch. They are one of the best teams in Europe without a doubt. We dona t think about beating Pep, we want to beat Bayern – a historic club in Europe.a
Pep Guardiola spent four seasons with his opponents this Wednesday clinching trophies in almost all the competitions in which he led them, but Luis Enrique believes that his knowledge of the Barcelona players would not be of much help in subduing them. The Barcelona manager confessed that his side could win hands down besides announcing his respect for his opponents tonight.
“I don’t think Pep has any doubts about what we are going to do tomorrow. We both want possession and we shall see who is in better condition tomorrow. I respect them of course, but other than that, we are motivated and feel we can win tomorrow. He knows every one of my players very well, but I don’t think ita s a determining factor for the match. This type of game is resolved by minor details.a
The Allianz Arena outfit have most of their first-team players out with the likes of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and David Alaba forced to watch the game from the stands thanks to injuries, but the 44-year-old believes that the Germans are equipped enough to make this game a contest.
“Bayern are good enough to overcome their injuries. I like them, the way they are very intense in attack and firm at the back. We have prepared for this match in the usual way, despite the men they will be missing.a
Barcelona are in the perfect position to pull off a treble this season having sealed their spot in Copa Del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao, which will be contested in their own turf. They also have a two-point advantage over the second-placed Real Madrid with only three games to go besides being one of the four teams to prevail in the Champions League.
The former Roma manager, despite revealing his hankering to pull off a treble this season, admitted that they may well end up trophyless. When quizzed about the favourites to go through, he denied singling one out and put the accent on the influence that the crowd could have on the game.
“I like the word treble. I love it, but we know it can go from three [potential trophies] to zero. We know we are in the position to win all three but we havena t finished the season yet. There are four teams that want to win the Champions League.
“There are no favourites for this match. It’s a semi-final. We are playing at home with our crowd – that makes us stronger. The crowd has to be great, supporting the team especially when the opponent is hurting us; I want them to be even more enthusiastic tomorrow.”