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Neuer ready to face Barca strike trio

Manuel Neuer is ready for the threat posed by Barcelona’s attacking superstars when Bayern Munich head to Camp Nou for their UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg.

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar have scored 108 goals between them in all competitions this season, with at least one of the trio finding the net in Barcelona’s last eight matches as they look to secure a European and domestic treble.

Neuer, who was on the Ballon d’Or three-man shortlist with Messi, knows the dangers posed by Luis Enrique’s much-vaunted attack, but believes he can stop them.

“We are very confident ahead of the match tomorrow,” he said. “We have played very well this season. We respect Barcelona but they respect us too. I am sure the team will play at their best. 

“Tomorrow we will see some of the best in the world [on the pitch]. When you play against Luis Suarez, Messi and Neymar you don’t really need to change your approach. 

“I know who I am playing against, I know who they are I know what their strong points are.”

Wednesday also sees Bayern coach Pep Guardiola return to his former club but Xabi Alonso, who has plenty of experience playing against Barca’s current stars from his five seasons at Real Madrid, dismissed any notion the coach’s return will become a distraction.

“Of course we’re aware of how emotional it’s going to be for him [Guardiola],” said the midfielder.

“He will encounter and have really strong feelings, but it’s another story for us, we need to be on top performance because we know the importance of the first leg in the semi-final.

“I have faced Barcelona lots of times but this time it’s different playing for Bayern. This is another story.

“Sure there are big changes between this year’s Barca and last year’s Barca, but their principles haven’t changed.”

Tue 5 May, 2015
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