Barcelona seeks miracle as Bayern, Real eye quarters

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PARIS: Barcelona striker Neymar vowed his side will throw everything at Paris Saint-Germain in their bid to overturn a four-goal deficit in the Champions League last 16 this week.

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PSG fired a significant warning of intent throughout Europe with a 4-0 rout of Barca in the French capital three weeks ago and will aim to complete the job in the return leg at the Camp Nou on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).

But the Catalan giants go into the game buoyed by thumping 6-1 and 5-0 wins in their past two league matches and haven’t given up hope of staging an unprecedented comeback.

No side has lost 4-0 away from home in Europe and gone through in a two-legged tie, but with Barca’s prolific front three of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez they cannot be entirely discounted.

“Against PSG we will run and fight and then we will see what happens,” said Neymar.

“It’s really important that our spirit is on the way up and our confidence too. I see us on the up and with confidence. On Wednesday we are going to play really well.”

Barca knocked PSG out at the quarter-final stage in both 2012-13 and 2014-15, but the reigning French champions have the upper hand this time and January signing Julian Draxler is confident of reaching the last eight for the fifth year in succession.

“Many teams have lost 5-0 at the Camp Nou, we know that anything is possible,” Draxler told PSG’s club website. “But deep down I’m convinced we’ll qualify for the quarter-finals.

“I think it will be important to attack and not just think about defending.”

Bayern Munich have one foot in the next round after thrashing Arsenal 5-1 at the Allianz Arena and look set to eliminate the Gunners in the last 16 for the third time in the past five seasons.

“We have a big advantage, but Arsenal are dangerous, so we have to go full throttle to win,” said Spain international Javi Martinez, who netted his first goal of the season in Saturday’s 3-0 victory at Cologne.

Philipp Lahm will miss the game through suspension, but the Bayern skipper said his team-mates would aim to extinguish any lingering hopes Arsene Wenger’s men have right from kick-off in London.

“We have to be highly focused and, most importantly, show Arsenal in the first quarter-hour they can forget the next round,” Lahm said ahead of Tuesday’s clash, with the Premier League side staring at a seventh straight last-16 exit.

Holders Real Madrid will head to Napoli as clear favorites after a 3-1 win in the Spanish capital.

AFP

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