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Wounded Barcelona braced for Real duel

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With the Kings Cup final loss fresh in its mind, Barcelona is out for revenge when it faces bitter rival Real Madrid in Wednesday's eagerly-anticipated Champions League semifinal first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.

It is the third meeting between the two Spanish powerhouses in just 12 days and Barcelona hopes to continue its impressive recent record at the Bernabeu as it looks to bounce back from the 1-0 Kings Cup extra-time final defeat to Real five days ago.

The form of Messi and David Villa's goal at the weekend is a boon for Barca but an injury to Brazilian Adriano is their latest defensive concern. Full-back Adriano could miss the rest of the season with a thigh injury so Guardiola is stretched at the back with captain Carles Puyol struggling with muscular problems and Frenchman Eric Abidal recovering from surgery on a liver tumour. Real is having more luck with Argentine forward Gonzalo Higuain and Brazilian playmaker Kaka back to their best after long lay-offs.

“He (Kaka) had a fantastic game in a position I like a lot,” said Mourinho.

Likely XI: Real Madrid: Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Raul Albiol, Alvaro Arbeloa, Marcelo, Lass Diarra, Xabi Alonso, Pepe, Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel di Maria

Barcelona: Victor Valdes, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol (or Maxwell), Dani Alves, Javier Mascherano, Sergi Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, David Villa, Lionel Messi, Pedro Rodriguez . — AFP

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