Created on 05-04-2009 at 00:00 AM
Barcelona will face Bayern in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg on the back of a win. In contrast to the German champions, defeated 5-1 by VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday, the Catalan giants eased past Real Valladolid 1-0, and even managed the luxury of resting one or two key individuals.
“I’m proud of my players. They gave it their all, and you can’t ask for more than that,” commented coach Josep Guardiola, who promptly awarded his men a day off. The Bayern squad spent Sunday morning in training at the Säbener Strasse, working off the previous day’s frustration.
Puyol and Iniesta return
Barca’s narrow win keeps them six points clear of Real Madrid, 1-0 winners in Malaga, at the top of the La Liga standings. Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, and Brazil right-back Dani Alves, only appeared for the last half-hour of the league fixture, with Thierry Henry spending the entire game on the bench.
Barcelona still dominated proceedings, prompted by a commanding midfield display orchestrated by Xavi, and comeback duo Andres Iniesta and skipper Carles Puyol, both returning from two-week lay-offs. Samuel Eto’o underscored his world-class goalscoring credentials with a lobbed 40th-minute winner.