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Fierce fight for places

Boss: Every player has to give everything

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There was a minor difference of opinion between FCB men after Monday's match. “The little guy’s done really well," said Arjen Robben. Responded Xherdan Shaqiri: “As you can see, I'm not just the little guy from Switzerland." Where it mattered, namely out on the field, there was not even a hint of disagreement. “Arjen told me to shoot. So I took the ball, I shot, and it hit the back of the net," Shaq grinned.

Sounds easy enough, and it looked easy enough, but of course a huge amount of hard work lay behind Shaqiri's glorious free-kick. After almost every training session, the Swiss utility man painstakingly practises set plays, shooting at goal from every conceivable angle. He scored from around 20 yards in the recent friendly against Napoli, and followed that up in the cup against Regensburg on Monday evening, making the score a decisive 2-0 after an hour's play. Robben, who of course refers to his team-mate as “the little guy" out of affection and respect, revealed how the pair encourage each other: “We often practise together. He has a really good shot."