Messi, in Stamford Bridge / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Barça are looking to make history tonight against Chelsea. After losing 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, they need to win to make it into their eighth European final, and even so that might not be enough if Chelsea get any all-important away goals. Just one goal for the Premiership outfit, and the defending champions will need to get three. And to stop them from doing that, the Londoners are likely to pack their defence as tightly as they did to such devastating effect in the first leg.
Night of hope
But the Camp Nou is used to big European nights liked this. The fans will be eager to see their heroes shine again after the painful defeat at home to Real Madrid on Saturday, a defeat that as good as ended their hopes of retaining the Liga title. So now, all their dreams are focused instead on the fifth European crown in a season that has already seen them lift the Clubs World Cup and Spanish and European Supercup trophies – with the final of the Copa del Rey also to come next month.
All eyes on Europe
Pep Guardiola, as always for Champions League fixtures, has gathered his players in a hotel on the eve of the game. He has his full squad available apart from the long-term absentees Villa, Fontàs and Abidal. Barça B’s Tello, Bartra and Montoya also joined Monday’s training session at the Camp Nou. Both Mascherano and Puyol are one yellow card short of a suspension, which would mean them missing out on a hypothetical final appearance in Munich.
Drogba the main man
Chelsea’s biggest worry is the man who scored the only goal in the first leg, Didier Drogba. The Ivorian striker was missing from last weekend’s clash with Arsenal, although it looks like he will be available on Tuesday night, and all that really stands between him and a place in the team is the opinion of manager Roberto Di Matteo. The Italian has no fewer than four players that are one booking away from a suspension: Ivanovic, Cole, Ramires and Meireles.
The London based outfit have been having a seriously below par season in the Premiership, and practically their only hope of appearing in the Champions League next season is to qualify by virtue of winning this year’s edition.