Champions League: Barcelona refuse to give up hope


Barcelona head coach Tito Vilanova promises his players will give everything they've got in their unlikely effort to overturn a 4-0 first-leg deficit in their UEFA Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich on Wednesday. The Spanish side have almost impossible obstacle to overcome if they are to reach the final at Wembley after they were heavily outplayed in Germany last week.

But coach Vilanova insists his players have not given up hope of reaching a third Champions League final in five years. "We are Barca and we cannot give up on a tie, there are still 90 minutes left," Vilanova said. "I don't think Bayern believe it is over either though they are better off than we are. If we lose, at least we have to do it with our heads held high and playing on until the end of the match, not throwing in the towel and making our fans proud of us."

Centre back Gerard Pique added: "It is a day when we should all become kids again to be as excited and hopeful as they are and lose our common sense a little bit. That might get us through, but it is very difficult. I know that it is complicated. But of course it can happen. I believe that the only team capable of overturning a four-goal deficit against Bayern is Barcelona."

Obviously Barcelona are relying on their star, Lionel Messi, to turn things around at Nou Camp. The Argentinian ace was not very efficient at the Allianz Arena last week after returning from a hamstring injury but he seemed well at the weekend when he came off the bench to score a superb goal against Athletic Bilbao in the domestic league. "The more in form he is the better our chances of getting to the final, but we can't heap this kind pressure on him, we have to try to help him," Vilanova said. "A player as good as Messi, at this point in the competition, will have things to say in tomorrow's match."

Vilanova also called for the fans' support for the tough task ahead. "If we are going to mount a comeback we need our fans. Both Bayern and Borussia had extraordinary atmospheres last week and that carried the teams forward. We will do our part so that fans find it easier to do theirs."

If you believe Barcelona can pull off the fightback against Bayern you could make quite a bit of money by betting on it at Bet365, the odds for Barca to qualify are 18/1.

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