Bartomeu: Barcelona haven't beaten Bayern yet

The Blaugrana president has pointed out that Pep Guardiola’s men overturned a 3-1 first-leg deficit against Porto with a 6-1 win at the Allianz Arena

Josep Maria Bartomeu says Bayern Munich’s stunning comeback against Porto should serve as a warning for Barcelona ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg.

The Blaugrana stormed to a 3-0 win in last week’s meeting at Camp Nou, with Lionel Messi netting a sensational double before Neymar bagged a third in the dying seconds.

Many pundits believe that Barca are already through to the final, with even Bayern icon Franz Beckenbauer admitting that the Bavarians already look “doomed” to bow out in the semis for the second successive season.

However, Bartomeu is taking nothing for granted, particularly in light of the fact that Pep Guardiola’s men overturned a 3-1 quarter-final deficit against Porto with a stunning 6-1 win at the Allianz Arena.

“We have a good advantage,” the Barca president is quoted as saying by MARCA. “But we must be cautious not forget that Bayern put six goals past Porto.

“We hope to see a good game against a great opponent but reach the final in the end.

“But we must be careful. We’re going to play a game in a stadium that will push their side hard.”

So concentrated is Bartomeu on the second leg clash in Bavaria that he was even reluctant to discuss the future of coach Luis Enrique, who is on the verge of emulating Guardiola’s achievement of winning a treble in his first season as Barca boss.

“We are now in full competition mode and we have to be focused,” he added.

“We are in a semi-final of the Champions League and must think beyond that.”

Beckenbauer: Messi is the best in the world but Pele's still the greatest

The Germany icon says Barcelona would just be any other team without the Argentine but he still feels that the Brazilian was better

Franz Beckenbauer says that while Lionel Messi is the best player in the world, Pele remains the greatest of all time.

After an injury-hit 2014, Messi has returned to his brilliant best since the turn of year and made headlines all around the world with his stunning two-goal salvo in Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie last week.

Beckenbauer was left in awe by the Argentine’s brilliance at Camp Nou but the Germany icon says that Brazil legend Pele is still the greatest talent he has ever seen.

“Messi’s amazing,” the 69-year-old told L’Equipe. “For several months now, he has rediscovered his best form.

“For Barcelona, he is the one that makes the difference. Without Messi, Barcelona would be just another team.

“It’s like when Bayern destroyed Barca in the semi-finals of the Champions League two years ago [winning 7-0 on aggregate] and Messi was not right.

“But now he is the best player in the world and of his time.

“However, the best ever is Pele. He is just ahead of Messi. I’ve never seen a player like Pele.

“I played with him at the New York Cosmos and you would give him the ball and just not see him again because he was too fast.

“Pele was all instinct.”

Given his admiration for Messi’s genius, Beckenbauer is unsurprisingly pessimistic about Bayern’s chances of recovering from a 3-0 deficit in Tuesday’s second leg in Bavaria.

“Our players are going to give their best and try everything to put pressure on Barca,” the former sweeper stated.

“If we can score quickly and a certain atmosphere takes hold of the Allianz-Arena, then we do not know what could happen.

“But I will not hide that I have great doubts, especially because Barca are playing in an extraordinary way. We have seen that last Wednesday.

“The third goal [from Neymar] was terrible because, at 2-0 down, we had even a chance to catch up.

“But now, the tie seems doomed. Still, there are always miracles in life.”

Despite his belief that Bayern are set to bow out at the semi-final stage for the second successive season under Pep Guardiola, Beckenbauer would like the Catalan to remain in Bavaria for a long time to come.

“Bayern are fortunate to have Pep,” he added. “All of us at the club are impressed by his work.

“He has a true structure in the team. He has found the middle ground between his philosophy and that of Bayern.

“Personally, I hope he stays in Munich a long time. He has a contract for one more year and we want to extend it.

“He has great appeal when it comes to attracting players, so if he stays with us, I will be the happiest of men.”

Bernat: Barcelona attack nearly unstoppable

The left-back witnessed at first hand the strength of the club’s forward line as his side were well beaten at Camp Nou last week

Bayern Munich defender Juan Bernat has acknowledged his side face a nearly impossible task to stop Barcelona’s attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar on Tuesday night.

The Catalans’ frontline have already amassed over 100 goals in all competitions this season and overwhelmed Bayern in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final last week.

Messi score twice at Camp Nou before Neymar added a third, meaning Pep Guardiola’s side must produce one of Europe’s greatest ever comebacks if they are reach the final.

“Barcelona are nearly unstoppable going forward at the moment,” Bernat was quoted as saying by TZ.

“Their three attackers in particular have been in sublime form. We will have to make sure to keep a close eye on them.

“With players such as Messi, Suarez and Neymar, who are all very strong individually, you should always have some sort of extra safety net.

“You cannot afford to give them any space, they need only very little room to create something and become dangerous.

“We can only succeed if we don’t give them any time to think.”

Guardiola: I don't care about being the best

The coach says it’s “rubbish” to suggest he is even slightly concerned with being considered “the best coach in the world”

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola insists he doesn’t care one bit whether people regard him as the best in the world so long as his team is successful.

The 44-year-old is widely considered to be one of the game’s finest coaches after guiding Barcelona to 14 trophies during his four seasons in charge at Camp Nou.

He has enjoyed further success since taking over at Bayern in 2013, having won back-to-back Bundesliga titles and the DFB-Pokal last season.

However, he has been criticised of late after overseeing a run of four straight defeats, including the 3-0 loss to Barcelona in the first leg of his side’s Champions League semi-final.

But ahead of Tuesday’s second leg, Guardiola made it clear that he had no interest in enhancing his own reputation.

“I’m not here to be considered the best coach in the world. That’s a load of rubbish,” Guardiola said at a press conference.

“I’m happy here and I want to help this team. I gave my best at Barcelona and I’m doing the same now.

“If that’s not good enough for the fans, the journalists and the former players turned journalists, then I’m sorry. But I’m doing my best.”

Guardiola has been tipped to replace Manuel Pellegrini as Manchester City coach this summer, but said on Monday that he would see out the final year of his contract with Bayern next season.

Barcelona are more than just Messi – Rafinha

The Brazilian says Bayern must take a risk against Luis Enrique’s in-form team on Tuesday and is confident they can still spring a surprise

Bayern Munich defender Rafinha has warned his team-mates not to become preoccupied with the thought of stopping Lionel Messi on Tuesday.

The Argentine scored twice in a devastating final 13 minutes in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final as Barca raced into a 3-0 first-leg lead.

Rafina, however, says it would be dangerous to forget about the strength across the Blaugrana team sheet when they attempt to overturn the deficit at the Allianz Arena this week.

“Everyone knows how good Messi is. Of course we wanted to stop him, a player like him can decide games on his own,” the 29-year-old told a press conference. “But Barcelona are not just Messi. They have a great team, just think about Luis Suarez.

“For 77 minutes last week we played very well, defended very well. After that we made some mistakes and we paid for that. Now we are going to try to score three or four goals – perhaps we will even have to take it to extra-time.

“Against players like this you take a risk by playing with just three at the back, but we will do what the coach says. It’s the details which will decide games like these.”

Rafinha is adamant Bayern can consider their season a success regardless of the result on Tuesday but feels their stunning comeback against Porto should give them hope of keeping their European dreams alive.

“If we are German champions, that means this has been a great season for us. We are still in semi-finals of the Champions League. We had had bad luck with injuries, and of course we wanted to go to the DFB-Pokal final, too.

“We did not expect to be 3-0 down at this stage, but we have another game, and when we are at out stadium we will have shown that we can score a lot of goals.”

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