Having trumped Barcelona superstar in the World Cup final by being an authoritative figure, Bayern ’keeper says he will try the same tactic to keep forward quiet during the two teams’ first leg semis clash today
Barcelona: Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said yesterday he will show FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi who the ‘boss’ is when the two teams lock horns in the Champions League semi-final first leg match today. It will be Neuer and Messi’s first meeting since Germany triumphed over Argentina in the World Cup final in 2014.
Bayern Munich’s ’keeper Manuel Neuer. Pics/AFP
“I have a lot of respect for Messi and for everything that he has achieved. He is very humble, but it’s crucial to show authority when we meet on the pitch and show him who’s boss. I did the same in the World Cup final and this worked out pretty well,” Neuer was quoted as saying by Goal.com yesterday.
Neuer said he aims at a repeat performance of the World Cup final and hopes to make good use of his considerable physical presence. “We will be looking to do the same on Wednesday. It is vital to obtain a position of dominance and instil respect. We have to make good use of our physical presence, our character and show a certain ruthlessness,” he said.
Bayern wrecked Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate in the Champions League semis when the two sides met two years ago. But Neuer believes the current Barcelona side are a better team than the previous one and it will be a tough encounter.
“The game against Barcelona is a final before the final. Our goal is to make it to the showpiece in Berlin. We dominated Barcelona in both legs in the semi-finals two years ago, but the situation has changed,” he said.
“This time, they have no injuries and Messi is back to his best, while we are missing several key players,” he said referring to the unavailability of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and the doubtful Robert Lewandowski.
“We know that we face a tough task, but I am confident we will get our chances.”
Barcelona will have revenge on their minds tonight after Bayern inflicted their heaviest ever European defeat in a 7-0 thrashing at the same stage of the competition two years ago.
Forward Lionel Messi during a press conference in Barcelona yesterday
“We need to prepare for the game knowing what it means playing in a semi-final of the Champions League and against a great team. That semi-final hurt us a lot, but a lot of time has passed since. We come into the game differently, as do they, and it will be a different tie to that one,” Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi said yesterday.