Barcelona Sweating On Busquets Before Bayern Clash

by
Reuters
Barcelona will have to wait until after Tuesday's training session to see if midfielder Sergio Busquets is fit to play their Champions League semi-final second leg against Bayern Munich on Wednesday, coach Tito Vilanova said.

Sergio Busquets

Barcelona will have to wait until after Tuesday's training session to see if midfielder Sergio Busquets is fit to play their Champions League semi-final second leg against Bayern Munich on Wednesday, coach Tito Vilanova said.

Busquets is a crucial part of the Barca side in the often unsung defensive midfield role and without him their chances of overturning a 4-0 deficit from last week's first leg in Munich will be severely dented.

The Spain international has been sidelined by a groin problem and missed Saturday's 2-2 La Liga at Athletic Bilbao. His place was taken by Alex Song, who has struggled to make his mark since joining from Arsenal at the end of last season.

"Sergio Busquets and some others are still suffering from minor injuries," Vilanova told a news conference at Barca's training ground outside the Catalan capital.

"We will see after the training session if Busquets is fit to play," he added.

Whether Busquets recovers in time or not, Barca's chances of making next month's final at London's Wembley stadium appear remote after they were comprehensively outplayed by the German champions in the first leg.

Only three clubs have overturned a four-goal first-leg deficit in UEFA competition and current Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes was on the losing side on one of those occasions.

The 67-year-old was in charge of the Borussia Moenchengladbach side that beat Real Madrid 5-1 at home in the 1985-86 UEFA Cup third round only to lose the return game 4-0.

Elimination for Barca on Wednesday would leave La Liga as their only chance of silverware this season.

They have an 11-point lead over current champions Real Madrid with five games left and are close to a fourth title in five seasons.

However, a domestic league crown would be seen as a poor return for a team who have set a new standard for European clubs in recent seasons and won the Champions League in 2009 and 2011.

"We are Barca and we cannot give up on a tie, there are still 90 minutes left," Vilanova said.

"I don't think Bayern believe it is over either though they are better off than we are.

"If we lose, at least we have to do it with our heads held high and playing on until the end of the match, not throwing in the towel and making our fans proud of us."

Centre back Gerard Pique added: "Tomorrow is a day when we should all become kids again to be as excited and hopeful as they are and lose our common sense a little bit. That might get us through, but it is very difficult."