Puyol and Seedorf / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

It’s the Champions League quarter final. A huge event in itself, made even more so by the quality of the opposition. Barça take on AC Milan at the Camp Nou – a game between two teams with eleven European titles between them. And one of them is going to be going out of the competition this evening. There’s no going back. If Barça win, they will be into the last four, but a score draw or a win for the Italians would bring an end to the Catalans’ Champions League campaign.

Glass half full and half empty

Absolutely nothing was decided after the first leg. Optimists will say that judging by Barça’s results at the Camp Nou this term, they still have every chance of qualifying. They have won 21 out of 24 home fixtures. In other words, 88% of Barça’s home results this season would be good enough to secure passage into the next round. Their one 0-0 draw would take the game into extra time, and only the two score draws would be enough to see the Italians through.

But pessimists will observe that one of those two score draws was precisely against Milan, who managed to draw 2-2 at the Camp Nou in the group stages. The other was against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey quarter final second leg, which also finished 2-2, while Sevilla was the only other team to avoid defeat at the Camp Nou when they managed a 0-0 draw in the league. Will the Italians be able to get the same result again?

Twenty players available

To ensure that they don’t, Guardiola has a large squad of 20 players to pick from, which includes 17 members of the first team plus Barça’s B’s Montoya, Muniesa and Tello. They have all been together since Monday afternoon. The only absentees are Abidal, Afellay, Fontàs and Villa.

Meanwhile, AC Milan, who arrived in Barcelona later than expected due to problems with their flight, have come with 23 players. Striker Pato, who was missing through injury at the San Siro last week, returns to the line-up. Van Bommel, Flamini, Thiago Silva and Cassano are the main absentees that Allegri is going to have to work how how he is going to replace.

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