Barcelona admit any chance the Catalans have of overturning a 4-0 first-leg defeat to Bayern Munich in their Champions League semi-final return on Wednesday depends very much on the fitness of Lionel Messi.
The World Player of the Year looked out of sorts in Munich last week as an energetic display from the hosts tore Barca to pieces, but Messi did come off the bench to score a wonderful individual goal and set-up a second for Alexis Sanchez in Barca’s 2-2 draw with Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.
Despite Messi not being at 100%, Barca’s main problem in the first-leg was their defending and manager Tito Vilanova has even more problems at the back with Jordi Alba suspended for Wednesday’s clash.
Adriano does return from suspension and is expected to replace Alba, however the biggest doubt remains who will partner Gerard Pique in central defence.
Bayern by contrast will be able to welcome back striker Mario Mandzukic after he too missed the first-leg through suspension.
And despite their comfortable lead, manager Jupp Heynckes has said he won’t rest any of his six first-team regulars that could miss the final should they be booked at the Camp Nou.
Captain Philip Lahm, Dante, Javi Martinez, Luis Gustavo, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gomez are all just one booking away from missing the showcase at Wembley should Bayern seal their passage into the final next month.AFP