Beşiktaş out to do its best against Bayern Munich
Beşiktaş will not cry for the moon when it hosts Bayern Munich in the return of a 5-0 loss in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 game, but coach Şenol Güneş remains ambitious to play tough against the Bundesliga giant on March 14.
“We should fight to the end behind our fans and get a good result,” Güneş said on March 12.
“It is hard not to use the word ‘impossible’ when describing their task against Bayern,” Champions League official website commentator Çetin Cem Yılmaz said.
“But still, the chance to host one of the European giants is what Beşiktaş signed up for in the first place, so Şenol Güneş will make sure his boys make the most of the opportunity,” the commentator added.
Beşiktaş focused on the European campaign until the Bayern game away on March 2, receiving criticism that it did not push hard enough for the domestic title.
“Now our priority is the league,” he said.
The Istanbul side won three games in a row, climbing to the second spot in the Turkish Super league standing after beating Gençlerbirliği 1-0 on March 10.
Bayern Munich, for its side, is going to visit Istanbul with its smoking gun, Robert Lewandowski, on board.
The Polish striker grabbed a hat-trick as Bayern romped to a 6-0 victory over crisis-stricken Hamburg in the Bundesliga on March 11.
The victory kept Bayern on course to wrap up another Bundesliga title – its sixth in a row – before the end of March, and heaps misery on Hamburg, who are now without a win in 13 games.
“It doesn’t matter if we are 10, 15 or 20 points ahead, we need to keep going in the Bundesliga,” said Arjen Robben. “We can’t just focus on the Champions League.”
Bayern will be without Corentin Tolisso, Kingsley Coman, Arjen Robben and Manuel Neuer in Istanbul.
In the other Champions League clash of the night, Barcelona will host Chelsea in the return of a 1-1 draw away.
Chelsea must be prepared to “suffer” in Barcelona if they are to have any chance of progressing to the Champions League quarter-finals, manager Antonio Conte has said.
Barcelona scored a 75th-minute equalizer through Lionel Messi to cancel out midfielder Willian’s second-half goal in the first leg clash between the teams at Stamford Bridge last month.
Conte said his team could face a more daunting task against the five-time European champions at the Nou Camp.
“We must be very good but when you play against this type of team, which I think is one of the best in the world, you must be prepared to suffer, in the same way we did in the first leg, where we were almost perfect,” Conte told the club’s website.
“This is not a [Chelsea] team with great experience, we have a lot of players who are playing their first or second season in the Champions League. But we have to work as a team and try to be ready to suffer the moments we have to suffer, and in every moment we have to know that we can have a chance to score,” he said.
Barcelona dominated possession in the first leg but Conte’s side were unfortunate not to end with a victory after Willian was twice denied by the woodwork before halftime.
“Given our opponents’ ability to dominate possession, especially on home soil, we will also need to show plenty of patience and concentration in waiting for our opportunities and making the most of them when they arrive,” Conte added.
Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury, trained on March 12. Iniesta took part in some of the session with the rest of Barça first team, boosting hopes he could return for the last 16 match.