07 March 2012

One-match ban for Gerard Piqué

The Competition Committee dismissed FC Barcelona’s appeal, the player will not be allowed to play against Racing Santander.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) Competition Committee has suspended Gerard Piqué for one match for the straight red card he received in the game against Sporting Gijón. The Committee dismissed FC Barcelona’s appeal. Consequently, the player will not be able to play in Barça’s La Liga match against Racing Santander at El Sardinero.

According to the match report, Piqué was sent off because he “brought down an opponent and thereby impeded a goal scoring opportunity.” In addition, the player and the Club have both been fined 600 and 90 euros, respectively. (via FCBarcelona.com)

Jorge Jesús would rather avoid Barça

Benfica coach Jorge Jesús recognizes that prefer to avoid face Barcelona or Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Instead, would not mind an English measured in this case Chelsea, who is the sole representative of the Premier League could remain in competition if next week back from 3-1 to Napoli.

After consummation of the classification of beating Benfica 2-0 at Zenit, Jorge Jesús said that only like to meet Barcelona or Real Madrid "in the semis or the final." The win allowed the first access Benfica in six years to the quarterfinals of the Champions, which is an important source of extra income for the club and guaranteed another 4 million.

One of the players in Tuesday's win was the young Nélson Oliveira, considered the greatest promise of Portuguese football, just debuted with the senior team, and author of the second goal. after dawn
and last summer in the FIFA U-20 taking the runner-up selection Lusa, has attracted rave reviews at home, where they debated who should play for "nine" in the European Championship.

To match Benfica-Zenit scouts attended some major European clubs, including Barcelona, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, Genoa and Villarreal. The Argentine Nico Gaitán and Spanish Javi García are two of the most coveted players in the Lisbon team and have been linked to several "big", especially the Premier. (via MD)

Afellay progressing well and already runs on the grass


Ibrahim Afellay evoluciona muy favorablemente de la grave lesión en la rodilla izquierda que sufrió el pasado 22 de septiembre de 2011 durante un entrenamiento y ayer se le vio correr sobre el césped del Camp Nou.

Eso sí, el extremo holandés todavía se ejercitó al margen del grupo y supervisado por los recuperadores físicos del equipo. (via MD)

Barça spy several players of Benfica

The club azulgrana players witnessed live the clash between Benfica and Zenit to assess the evolution of several players.

One of the protagonists of Benfica's victory against Zenit was the young Nélson Oliveira, considered the greatest promise of Portuguese football, just debuted with the senior team, and author of the second goal.

The player, who excelled since last summer with the selection of the "machines" in the World Under 20-in which Portugal was runner-has attracted rave reviews in the country that still debating who should play for "nine" in European next.

The match between Benfica and Zenit went scouting for some major European clubs, including FC Barcelona, Juventus, Borussia, Genoa and Villarreal.

The Argentine Nico Gaitán and Spanish Javi García are two of the most coveted players in the squad of the team "red" and have been linked to several "big", especially the Premier. (via SPORT)

Cesc and Messi lead the Barça attack against Leverkusen

Pep Guardiola will manage to cover the absence of Alexis in attack while on the axis of the rear Pique and Mascherano will try to forget about Puyol.

Barça are playing tonight reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League at the Camp Nou against Bayer Leverkusen. And so at minimum. Alexis recent injuries and Puyol have left the first team in -14 box-players, forcing Guardiola to pull the branch and meet the six homegrown absences.

In defense, Piqué and Mascherano are the central couple in the absence of Puyol, where the centre-back Barcelona will have to provide centimeter-plus to establish itself as the great shield azulgrana set-pieces in pieces, in which the attempt to Bayer Leverkusen make the most possible.

The Abidal allow low Adriano have more minutes in Champions as winger, trying to emulate his compatriot Dani Alves who completed the defensive line of four.

In the center of midfield Busquets provide its basic physical waste to stop the German fast game that Pep Guardiola warned newsroom. In this sense, is not ruled out the inclusion in the starting line of a Seydou Keita who is experiencing a great form.

However, Pep could go for surround 'Busi' both Xavi as Iniesta to have absolute control of the ball, but both options would be compatible if Iniesta advance a position and pass to register as a wing.

Cesc and Messi are the untouchables in the plot more offensive. Arenys The band could fall or be repositioned as a false front center. In any case, his versatility will allow the grass to re-enlist to strengthen the midfield and ball control that both Guardiola wants to dominate tonight to stop the Bayer run and make spaces.

The other attacking trio square has no clear owner although pointing to Pedro the owner. In the event that Keita finally entered in the team, the logic is that to occupy third place the offensive Iniesta, while in normal, Peter played his position as other homegrown Cuenca or Tello. (via SPORT)

FC Barcelona - Bayer 04 Leverkusen: Quarter finals in sight

20.45, TV3 and Ràdio Barça - FC Barcelona host Bayer 04 Leverkusen with the intention of finishing off the excellent job done in the first leg and thus progressing into the last eight of the Champions League.

Barça won 3-1 in Germany, and already have one foot in the quarter finals of the Champions League.

The star of the first leg, Alexis Sánchez, misses the game through injury, as do six other players.

Both teams have won every game since they met at the BayArena.

FC Barcelona don't want any nasty surprises against the 'aspirin' team, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, who they face on Wednesday night (20.45, TV3 and Radio Barça) with the aim of completing the excellent job done a fortnight ago in Germany, where they won 3-1 away, and ensuring passage into the quarter finals of Europe's premier club competition. Whenever the Champions League anthem plays, it's a warning to the players that they are competing at the highest level, and tonight's visitors have regained their form by winning every Bundesliga match since crashing at home to the defending champions.

But these are troubled times in the FCB dressing room. Guardiola is going to work around seven injuries (Afellay, Villa, Fontàs, Abidal, Alexis, Thiago and Puyol), meaning he has only 14 first team players available. That's why he has called upon the services of Tello, Muniesa, Bartra, Sergi Roberto, Dos Santos and Montoya, all of Barça B. Alexis Sánchez, who scored two goals in the first leg, will not be able to add to his tally tonight at the Camp Nou.

One of the mysteries surrounding tonight's fixture is the tactics Robin Dutt is going to employ. Having lost 3-1 in the first leg, he is unlikely to opt for the conservative methods he chose that night, with his Bayer 04 Leverkusen players waiting for FC Barcelona in their own half – especially before they finally went a goal down. At the Camp Nou, he has little choice but to push forward in search of goals, for his team will need at least three in order to qualify. They have nothing to lose, while it doesn't cost anything to dream. Corluka, the only winter signing, misses the game through injury, as do Ballack, Sam and Adler. (via FCBarcelona.com)

FC Barcelona - Els Barça Toons animen el Barça-Bayer

Barça-Leverkusen: Gala dinner at the Camp Nou

The champion wants to wear all your game to demonstrate that it remains the master of Europe.
If you reach the quarter, Barça will be the only one who made ​​the last five seasons.


Barça is ninety minutes of getting into the last eight of Europe for the fifth consecutive year. It is the only one who can reach that great merit.

Champions From 2007-08, Barça always reach the penultimate stage of the continental showpiece. And then also reach the semifinals.

The Bayer Leverkusen today (20.45 h.) The obstacle to overcome before these last rounds of the Champions that have the potential of a new clash with Real Madrid.

The set of Guardiola, who returns tonight Messi and Sergio Busquets, absent in the rugged league encounter against Sporting last Saturday brought a 1-3 first-leg friendly, despite which the coach azulgrana does not want to leave no detail to chance can play the best eleven in the eyes of all Europe.

Assuming that much of the work is done and it is very difficult for the German team to turn around the tie, the champions of Europe wants to send a message loud and clear to all his rivals with a resounding victory and convincing. Qualifying for rooms with another exhibition is the best way to prove who is the European number one and top seed to revalidate the title.

Enjoy the Camp Nou tonight Messi soccer, rested after not playing last Saturday against Sporting through suspension.

The Argentine top scorer in the Champions League so far, becomes more motivated than ever. Passionately encouraged the team from the stands on Saturday and burns with desire to return to provide an exhibition in Europe.

Recent seasons has been decisive contribution: last season stunned the world with a goal against Arsenal with 'hat' to Almunia included which was a finalist in the FIFA gala in choosing the best goal of the year.

A year earlier, in 2009-10, but in the quarter, shot her four goals to set in London. When Champions return to the calendar barcelonista, a few weeks of early spring, Messi also offers its best. The public who go to Camp Nou today can be graced with a new exhibit.

It will not be on the pitch, however, Carles Puyol, unexpected drop in some discomfort in the left leg adductor. There was debate over whether it was desirable to reserve it, because it is a penalty card and had he been warned he would have lost the first leg of the quarterfinals possible.

Guardiola is not very keen on this kind of speculation, especially in this case, since sooner or later face the danger of running out Puyol in the current Champions and the farther away, the worse the problem. However, the inconvenience may have solved any dilemma.

Puyol is bound to low Thiago, who has recovered from his injury in the right tibia and is low, and Alexis, injured against Sporting, who yesterday made ​​a career continues with the captain while his teammates worked at the Camp Nou, the good news that Ibi Afellay is exercised on their own nearby.

Tello, Montoya, Bartra, Jonathan dos Santos, Sergi Roberto and Muniesa, the subsidiary, completed a list of twenty summoned before a Bayer Leverkusen who will burn his ships: has only one way. (via SPORT)

The dictatorship of Sánchez Arminio

The great accuser of Piqué pulls the strings of arbitration in Spain at will. What dominates in this establishment.

Victoriano Sánchez Arminio, who turns 70 next June, has been linked to football life. He was appointed chairman of the Referees Technical Committee (TAC) in 1993, after leading 149 games in First Division League in his debut in 1976 where he spent 13 consecutive seasons. He retired from arbitration in 1989 to meet the maximum age stipulated, and that same year Ángel María Villar was appointed member of the appointment of arbitrators until four seasons later the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) was appointed to finger most arbitral estate manager to replace the resigned Pedro Sánchez Sanz. There's his farm.

Sánchez Arminio takes 19 years at the arbitration group doing a "deaf who becomes the great unknown" of world football, according to a federal source, where man has a reputation for "affable, approachable and accessible." Arminio leads the complex arbitration scene "attached to their mobile," from where it serves the incidents to be presented. Their main anxieties are territorial arbitration organization "which moves a lot. People see only the football of first division and second division, but behind are 20 territorial `Other Is football that turns" say it.

His salary is around 6,000 euros net per month plus expenses, but does mask their income through a service company to which the RFEF would settle all emoluments which it receives. Arminio is based in Santander, but lives for the most days of the week in Madrid. Overnight usually at the hotel Sito in Ciudad del Fútbol, as it overnight from 160 to 180 euros, although as a federal employee has a reduction of 50 percent, so the Federation assumes that costs 90 euros each night you stay in the capital. Arminio is married and has grandchildren of those who spoke "with a passion", hence try to spend weekends in Santander to be with his family.

His big mistake in the 'Piqué affair' has been proclaimed himself 'art and part' in the complaint to the Barça player. "The words of Piqué in the Competition discuss, because we are serious statements," he said. In any case he can make that claim because neither belongs nor has representation in that body. This slip has served the Federation has given a clarion call to take on roles that do not belong.

Nevertheless, Sánchez Arminio is free to maneuver as head arbitration before Villar. One of the president's henchmen along the leading almost from the entered office in 1988. On economic issues, the RFEF not designated an endowment for the elite referees. On paper, self-managing with part of the wages paid to colleges for their rights to arbitration and the publicity they generate. This, Sánchez Arminio has to organize technical meetings and convenes in Madrid physical every two months. Your mattress in this section is the Federation itself, which covers the CTA's budget if you have red number. In fact, it Villar who has to give approval to all the powers of the CTA.

Finally, Sánchez Arminio is one of the three members who serve on the Committee on Appointments arbitration. This tripartite committee should consist of a representative of the RFEF, a representative of the Professional Football League (LFP) and a representative of consensus between the two institutions. Formerly the arbitrators themselves were those who chose the third member, but today is Sánchez Arminio who occupies that position and appoint at will with punishment and promotions. (via SPORT)

[Youth] Barça close the renewal of juvenil Patri

The juvenil player has signed for three seasons and has become one of a squad of Eusebio.

Patricio Gabarrón extended his contract as Barça player until at least 2015. The midfielder is about to turn 19 and has been one of the last youth to make the jump to the branch Blaugrana. The coach Eusebio Sacristán already called for the first time in the fateful shift to Las Palmas and has since been a regular at training sessions Barça B. Patri is considered one of the youth with the greatest of the quarry. Remarkable physical midfielder, 1.84 inches high, stands out for its versatility as it unfolds smoothly while playing as a pivote or falling to the wing.

Patri progression has been a constant in this season. In recent weeks, coinciding with the rise of several players in the subsidiary to the first team, Jonathan dos Santos and Sergi Roberto, Eusebio has requested the presence of reinforcements of juvenil. Patri has been one of them. The adjustment has not been a problem and midfielder and has become one more in the ranks of Barça B.

The next step will be consolidation in the Second Division A, but for now has three years left on his contract to demonstrate their quality. (via SPORT)

[Youth] Òscar García converted to Grimaldo a wing

The full-back Valencian has played five games in front, next to the left wing.

Alejandro Grimaldo, young freshmen, is a fixture in the lineups of Juvenil A Òscar García Junyent. The Valencian is a youth football players with the greatest impact, though, in principle, it seemed as left back.

From that position was able to debut in the Copa Catalunya with the first team, albeit with a group of canteranos. Sabadell coach did not hesitate to add to their team this season from Cadete A. In the past five weeks, however, has advanced its position and plays extreme, leaving the left-back for Brian Olivan.

Òscar García wants to exploit its power and good center in attack and although it has always done from behind, is meeting with his new work. The results, despite the defeat in Girona, victories are counted. The blaugrana are two points behind Espanyol, which is the unbeaten leader category.

Although there is a definite change, Grimaldo, for now, have many numbers to continue to occupy its new position. (via SPORT)

Concentrates and pending the final training

The coach does not want to relax and maintain a regular work schedule to receive a Leverkusen went over the weekend to Bayern.

The squad blaugrana will stay true to your work routine. As is standard in European competition, Guardiola has taken up the practice of concentration and has opted for the Hotel Mandarin as a setting chosen to host the delegation culé. This is an old acquaintance in the season, because in the last game in the playoffs prior to the Champions League against BATE Borisov, Barça kept overnight in the same hotel. A luxurious and quiet to block out distractions outside the competition. However, several dozen people gathered around the hotel for the team.

Pep relaxations do not want more than strictly necessary and, despite the theoretical convenience to be provided by the victory achieved 1-3 weeks ago at the meeting of the leg, has warned that Santpedor not spare a final training session before the shock front Bayer Leverkusen. At noon, the team will travel to the Camp Nou and will train a few minutes to polish the usual details. Nothing should be left to chance against a Leverkusen last weekend gave a warning to encourage a full-scale review of the almighty Bayern Munich. At 13.30 hours is scheduled lunch.

As for training last night at the Camp Nou, few details except to note the strong presence of youth players on the pitch and the absence of the multitude of injured drag the first squad culé. One of the photographs of the night was contemplating the stove, Juanjo Brau, flanked by two illustrious injured Carles Puyol and Alexis Sánchez. Career paths and expect continued favorable developments. The master should arrive at the weekend while Chile will have to wait at least another week. (via SPORT)

[Ex-player&coach] Carles Rexach believes that the renewal of Pep Guardiola is "falling"

"Pep is a smart guy and knows that everyone is aware of the situation."
"Everyone realizes that this year the arbitrations are pretty bad for Barça."
"We are not fools. That of turning the other cheek enough", has warned the exentrenador.

Former barcelonista coach Carles Rexach, Barca now presidential adviser, is convinced that the renewal of Pep Guardiola is "falling", something he thinks will be implemented "fairly easily" this month.

Rexach This has been confirmed in a statement to the program 'Ona Esportiva' Onda Cero Catalunya. "Pep is a smart guy and knows that everyone is aware of the situation and that a club like Barça can not be at the expense of what will happen. In addition, many people around you that also depends on him," explained. For that reason Rexach believes that Guardiola will make a quick decision.

"I think Pep what you are doing is analyzing the situation. He likes to analyze and have everything under control and I feel good, but there comes a time when things can be extended," he explained. The excoach azulgrana Guardiola thinks "is aware" that now "the Barça can jitters at all levels is important," therefore "I think the decision will be quite rapid."

Rexach said that "little by little," you have to start talking about the referees. "You always say you're not going against the referees, that can go wrong ... per comes a time when the masses bite. The last Sunday is the straw that breaks the camel."

"In this case, people have noticed and gradually linking all the statements made by each other and everyone realizes that this year the arbitrations are pretty bad for Barça," he said.

"You have to say 'we do not want to mess with the referees' but we are not fools. That of turning the other cheek enough already," said the adviser to Sandro Rosell. "The other day you no longer drive out Piqué, which is important, but it also left to whistle two or three penalties and it's too repetitive. So in the end you have to say enough of this stick because it tease you, "he insisted.

"Sometimes you can not say everything you think. That's true. But it is very clear that I believe there will be no penalty craro also important because they have been told many truths."

Rexach is the idea that "everyone gets tired of Barça for four years to win and be the first level," as also that "everyone has an interest in the resurgence Madrid."

"This year, if we analyze, the club has had many parties which has not complained. Espanyol the day of the penalty in the final minute, the day of Valencia ... and not say anything. I think the Barça has been good, has held up well, but now just one day complaining that nothing has happened, although it could have happened and this is important, "he insisted. (via MD)

Xavi will donate 100,000 Euros to the Red Cross

Before the game tonight, Xavi Hernandez will hand over the cheque that UEFA are presenting him, as captain of the Team of the Year for 2011.

Tonight, before the game against Bayer 04 Leverkusen, UEFA will deliver, via the hands of a member of the Executive Committee, Peter Gilliéron, a cheque for 100,000 Euros to Xavi Hernadez, as the prize voted for by internet users, as captain of the Team of the Year for 2011. The midfielder from FC Barcelona will donate this money to the International Committee of the Red Cross, earmarked for the campaign 'Goals for the Red Cross', a project for the rehabilitation of victims of landmines in Afghanistan.

Xavi recognized that it is "an honor to be part of the team and also be the captain. I am very pleased to represent European and World football, and this time we are helping people who need it most, and it makes me very proud". The Barça player, very conscious of the need to help people most in need, added: "It is really important to help. We are very privileged people doing what we do, which is also our passion. Being a footballer is my job, but it's also my 'hobby' and my passion. I am very proud to be able to help people in need".

The FC Barcelona midfielder was voted for by over 100,000 users of the UEFA website as captain of the Team of the Year for 2011. In addition to these hundred thousand votes, the Barça player received 262,027, which allowed him to form part of the midfield of this ideal team. Xavi was not the only Barça player in the starting eleven, because also in the team were Alves, Piqué, Iniesta, and Messi, plus the manager, Pep Guardiola. (via FCBarcelona.com)

Kiessling: "I'll tell Messi bring me a shirt"

Bayer Leverkusen forward Stefan Kiessling joked before the game called Leo Messi to ask him to give away a T-shirt and prevent possible discussion.

During the first leg in Germany Michal Kadlec and Manuel Friedrich got into an angry discussion of changing path to keep the shirt that Messi had exchanged with one of them. In the image presented by his players, Bayer decided to organize a charity auction with elastic "10" azulgrana, which was finished raising 11,000 euros.

"I think I'll call and ask him to bring me one," joked Kiessling at the press conference before the match against Barça at the Camp Nou, removing iron case.

A duel in which Bayer Leverkusen hopes to extend his good time league: "Dreaming is free, is evident. Will be difficult, a very difficult game. Not win and make a good game is not bad. But talking about big dreams before is not right thing, "said the forward.

Without wasting any time in the realistic possibilities of his team in this round, Kiessling said it is aware of the superiority of the template of its rival. "We have seen what players we face. We have to learn a lot of turnovers. That if we lose a ball, we have to go back and fight it," he said. "And above all, seize opportunities," he said. (via SPORT)

The German press believes the tie is over

The journalists that cover Bayer 04 Leverkusen on a daily basis believe that the Germans are playing for their “reputation and prestige” in tomorrow’s match at the Camp Nou.

The journalists that follow Bayer 04 Leverkusen on a daily basis agree that the German side cannot earn a victory at the Camp Nou that will see them through to the quarter-finals. “The have less than a 1% chance. With a 1-3 from the away leg, any normal conclusion indicates that it’s impossible for Bayer 04 Leverkusen to mount a comeback,” said Frank Lussem, journalist for the magazine Kicker. “A lot of things can happen in football, the objective is to get a good result, the game should serve the Club to gain recognition, reputation and prestige,” said Bild’s Phillip Arens.

Despite what the German press is saying, the fact that Robin Dutt’s team have won three consecutive matches allows for a glimmer of hope. “Ever since the second half against Barça, the team has worked and they beat Augsburg, Cologne and Bayern Munich. That’s three consecutive wins for the first time this year. Bayer 04 was courageous in the second half against Barça. Having courage against teams like Valencia or Chelsea could be enough, but 9 out of 10 times against Barça it won’t be,” said Lussem.

Holger Dahl, from the German television channel WDR, said: “Bayer 04 was very passive in the first half against Barça, they committed a lot of errors in their buildup. The hope is that they’ll be more risky at the Camp Nou, like in the second half. That’s when they gave Barça troubles.”

The three journalists agree that Bayer 04 Leverkusen will not play defensively at the Camp Nou. “There’s a lot of respect, even more so with Barça, but I don’t think they’ll hide,” said Lussem. Dahl praised Guardiola’s Barça: “every team that goes up against Barça thinks they’re playing against the future European champion. In Germany, we’re surprised with the point difference in La Liga, because the perception is that Barça is the best team in the world.” Arens said: “there isn’t a better team in the world. For Bayer 04 Leverkusen it’s a game to learn, to play without fear. If they are afraid, they’ll sink at the Camp Nou.” (via FCBarcelona.com)

Fourth Cup final at the Vicente Calderón

FC Barcelona won once (against Sporting Gijón) and lost twice (against Real Madrid and Zaragoza) in Cup finals at the Vicente Calderón

25 years have passed since FC Barcelona played a final at the Vincente Calderón. It was on April 26th 1986, against Zaragoza, Barça lost the title game by 0-1 (goal from Rubén Sosa). That was the last of the three finals that Barça has played, until now, at Atlético Madrid’s stadium. Barça also lost the first time they played there (0-4 against Real Madrid), while they won in their second attempt (3-1 against Sporting Gijón).

In total, this will be the 13th Cup final at the Vicente Calderón. The last time the Colchonero stadium hosted a championship match was in the 2007/08 season, where Valencia took on Getafe (3-1 to Los Che).

It will by Athletic Club’s third final at the Calderón. The Basques won their first championship match, in 1972/73, against Castellón (2-0). Four years later, Athletic Club lost to Betis in a penalty shootout (0-0 and 8-7 in the shootout).

Vicente Calderón, with a capacity of 54,837, was inaugurated in 1966. (via FCBarcelona.com)

Cup final: at the Vicente Calderón on May 25th

This Tuesday, the Spanish Football Federation announced the date and location of the Cup final between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) announced that the King’s Cup final between FC Barcelona and Athetic Club will be played on May 25 at the Vicente Calderón in Madrid. Picking the Calderón as the venue for the final was the Club’s latest proposition in the last meeting held by FC Barcelona, Athletic Club, and the Federation.

This will be the seventh Cup final between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club Bilbao. Of the past six, the Azulgranas have won four and the Basques two. The last time both teams met in the competition was on May 13th, 2009, at Mestalla. (via FCBarcelona.com)

Guardiola names 20 players to Barça's Champions League squad

Puyol and Thiago will miss tomorrow’s Champions League match at the Camp Nou. Josep Guardiola named 20 players to the team.

Barça trained this afternoon in the penultimate training session before tomorrow’s match agains the German side.

Tomorrow’s training session is scheduled to start at 12:00 at the Camp Nou.

Josep Guardiola decided to gather his team the day before the Champions League match against Bayer 04 Leverkusen. The manager named 20 players to the Barça team for the return leg of the last-16 round of the Champions League. Of the 20 Barça players, 14 are from the first team and 6 are Barça B players (Montoya, Bartra, Jonathan Dos Santos, Sergi Roberto, Muniesa and Tello).

Carles Puyol, who is struggling with a minor injury, and Thiago, who is still recovering from his tibia injury, will miss the match.

Final training session on Wednesday

The Barça squad trained this afternoon at the Camp Nou. The session, which was open to the press for the first 15 minutes, started at 19:00. The team will take to the field tomorrow as well in the last training session before the match against Leverkusen. The session will start at 12:00.

Upon completion of today’s training session, the team went to the Mandarin hotel. On Wednesday the team will train at 12:00 and return to the hotel at 13:30. They will eat together and then depart for the Camp Nou at 18:30. Kickoff against Bayer Leverkusen is at 20:45. (via FCBarcelona.com)

The list

Valdés, Pinto, Alves, Piqué, Fàbregas, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Mascherano, Keita, Busquets, Pedro, Adriano, Cuenca, Tello, Montoya, Bartra, Jonathan Dos Santos, Sergi Roberto and Muniesa.

Guardiola: “We're playing to win and to qualify for the quarter-finals”

The Barça manager will not instruct his team to play defensively to protect the 1-3 lead they have over the German side.

Guardiola admits that the Champions League “is a beautiful competition that allows us to take a break from the League”.

Guardiola completely agrees with the Club’s stance.



Despite the 1-3 result in the away leg, Pep Guardiola doesn’t believe the tie against Bayer 04 Leverkusen is over. The FC Barcelona manager reminded the packed press room of how difficult it was against Real Madrid in the return leg of the King’s Cup, despite winning 1-2 at the Bernabéu. “This year’s trap is that we’ve earned a better result than last year,” he said. Guardiola said that “we must play a good game; we can’t go out to defend, we have to try to win and qualify for the quarter-finals.”

The Barça manager is very aware of the dangers that Bayer 04 bring to pitch. “Their pace, their areal play, dead balls, that's what makes them dangerous.” Gaurdiola talked about Bayer 04’s game plan in the second half at the BayArena to highlight what his team should expect tomorrow: “when we let them run like in the second half [of the away leg], they’re stronger. We have to try to slow them down a bit and command the game in our side of the pitch.” Guardiola is wary of the team led by Robin Dutt, who said that his team has nothing to lose and everything to win in tomorrow’s showdown: “like any good German side, they never give up on anything. It appears as though they’re out of the match but suddenly they create goal scoring chances.”

Guardiola has the chance to take his team to the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the fourth year in a row. The manager recognised that the continental competition is good for his team: “it’s a beautiful competition that allows us to make a clean break from La Liga. We’ll try to stay in the competition by playing a good game.”

“I completely agree with Toni Freixas,” said Guardiola when asked about the spokesman’s press conference. “We aren’t saying whether we agree or not on if Piqué should be punished, we want to know what the rules are. It appears as though the Board never does anything right, but we just want to know what criteria is used by the Committee to ban players.”

On Gerard Piqué’s statements after he was ejected from this weekend’s match, Guardiola believes that every player should be held responsible for what they do. “If you limit them in the press room, you limit them on the pitch.”

The RFEF designated the Vicente Calderón as the venue for the King’s Cup final. The Barça manager said that “if the other finalist wasn’t Barça, I’m sure Athletic Club would have played in the Bernabéu.”(via FCBarcelona.com)

Busquets: “Bayer will attack”

Sergio Busquets expects Bayer 04 Leverkusen to attack, “like in the second half of the away match. It’ll be an open match and that can benefit us”.

“I’m not convinced that they’ll be satisfied with 30% possession. They’ll come out to attack and to retain as much possession as they can. We will too”.

“I’ve always said that I’d like to go to the Olympic Games. I can play both competitions, but that’s not up to me. It depends on the national coaches”.



Sergio Busquets, who returns to the team after being suspend for the match against Sporting Gijón, is aware of the importance of tomorrow’s match, “we’re playing for a spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Our game plan will be the same. We’re going to try to win. We know that we have a good result and that Bayer will create goal scoring chances. They’ll come out to attack, like in the second half [in Germany]. This can be beneficial for us because we’ll have more space and it will be an open match.”

The Barça midfielder responded to Robin Dutt’s pre-match statements: “I don’t believe they’ll be satisfied with 30% ball possession. They’ll come out to attack and they’ll try to retain possession as much as they can. We will too.” Barça is aware of how dangerous the German side can be, “they’re very powerful, very tall. When they go on the attack, they always have a lot of men [up the pitch]. We are the player that we are, it’s obvious that we aren’t a very tall team. If we commit fouls or give corners away, we’ll suffer. Therefore, the best thing to do is to avoid fouls and not concede corners,” said Busquets.

Busquets said that the players “just want to talk about football.” The midfielder, when asked about the controversy after this weekend’s match, said, “Gerard Piqué is well, he’s focused on the match. A lot of people have talked about this but we’re only thinking about tomorrow’s match. We have maximum respect for the referees.”

On the announcement that the King’s Cup final will be played at the Calderón, Busquets reiterated the statements made by his teammates and manager: “we said that we’d go where they told us to go. It’s a final that’s waiting for us at the end of the season, now we know where and when it will be.”

Sergio Busquets publicly expressed his desire to play in the Olympic Games his summer in London. “I’ve always been open about my desire to play in the Olympic Games. Luis Milla knows this. It’s clear that I can be on both lists [Olympic Games and the EURO], I can play both competitions but that’s not up to me. It depends on the national coaches.”(via FCBarcelona.com)

Dutt: “We have nothing to lose and a lot to win”

The Bayer 04 Leverkusen manager knows that they are in a difficult situation after losing 3-1 at home but “if we play like we did in the second half of the first leg, Barça will have to work very hard”.

Dutt has no plans to rest any players because “this is a chance to test ourselves against the best and we have to play against the best”.

Striker Kiessling said that whatever happens at the Camp Nou they want to go home knowing that they played a good game.

Robin Dutt has arrived in Barcelona intending "to get a good result ... to get lots of recognition and good vibrations". The Bayer 04 Leverkusen boss reckons that they are coming to the Camp Nou with "nothing to lose and a lot to win". The 3-1 deficit leaves his team with a mountain climb, but he feels they learned a lot from their meeting in Germany a fortnight ago. "If we play like we did in the first half of that match, we won't be happy, but if we play like we did in the second, when we generated much more pressure, Barça will have to work very hard." He added that they need to avoid giving away the ball so easily. "We have to chase the ball, fight for it, go forwards and take all the chances we get".

Robin Dutt's striker Stefan Kiessling also spoke to the press, and agreed that "we want to play a good game and see what can happen after 90 minutes." He mentioned the 4,000 German fans that will be there with them at the Camp Nou. "We have to play well for ourselves and for them ... the happiness and excitement about playing at a stadium like FC Barcelona's are enormous". (via FCBarcelona.com)