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‘Make the fans proud’

Barça hopes rest on a perfect performance

Si, se puede! ran the headline in Barcelona's Sport newspaper, ‘Yes, we can do it!’ The line calls for belief: belief in a sensation, in a miracle, in Lionel Messi, in FC Barcelona, and speaks directly to the heart and soul of the culés, the term by which the Barça faithful like to be known. And sure enough, the coaching staff, players and officials at the Catalan institution have not given up hope of an astonishing comeback in the Champions League semi-final return against Bayern. However, they are also aware no team has ever overturned a 4-0 defeat in the home leg of a knockout tie in Europe's top competition – not even Barcelona's dream team.

The straw everyone in Spain's second-biggest city is clutching goes by the name of Lionel Messi. The world's best player was hampered by injury in Munich a week ago, but the Argentine produced a superb 30 minute cameo against Bilbao last weekend, scoring a stunning 44th league goal of the season and providing an assist to help his team salvage a 2-2 draw.