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Pre-Barcelona interview

Müller: We can go there and win

Thomas Müller was the last man off the training ground on Sunday as he was practising penalties, at least until he finally had enough of the pouring Bavarian rain. After showering and changing Müller, rested by Pep Guardiola for Saturday’s trip to Leverkusen, sat down with and looked ahead to the Champions League-semi-final against FC Barcelona.

Interview: Thomas Müller Thomas, you’ve taken a breather this weekend...
Thomas Müller: Physically speaking, it was a very pleasant Saturday (laughs). Tiredness is relative – at 25 you can basically play every game, although obviously your mind and body are a bit drained towards the end of a season, so it was good to rest a few of the guys. And then really going for it in training, like today, is always great.

What’s your take on the 2-0 defeat at Leverkusen?
You’re obviously torn. On the one hand you have to treat the league with respect, but on the other, the only thing that counts for us is the Champions League semi, and I guess everyone understands that.

Javi Martínez made his comeback after a long, long lay-off. Are you pleased for him?
Of course! It’s superb for us and obviously for him, although he was away a long time and still needs time. But he’ll be back up to speed by the start of next season.

Are you counting down the hours until the match in Barcelona?
It’s very special of course but I’m not flipping out over it. A Champions League semi-final isn’t a completely unknown situation for me nowadays – it is my fifth in the last six seasons after all.

Two years ago, you won 4-0 in Munich and 3-0 in Barcelona. What do you remember of the game at Camp Nou?
It was a terrific experience, we were brilliant that night and made the world of football sit up and take notice. I’ll definitely run out with a positive feeling on Wednesday.

What’s so special about Camp Nou?
That the fans in the top tier can’t see the action (grins). But seriously: it’s imposing, it’s massive. It’ll be spine-tingling, that’s for certain.

Barça are in superb form. Is that giving you a headache?
We know all about their strengths. They’re world-class, especially up front. For a defender, it’s not the most comfortable situation to be facing Messi when he’s dribbling. But we’re geared up. The coach knows this team better than any other. He’ll give us a game plan, but the rest is up to us players.

Barça won their last two games 6-0 and 8-0...
We’ve also won big this season, and even without recent results we’re quite aware that Barcelona are one of the best teams in the world. They’ve kicked two other great teams out of the Champions League. But I’m still optimistic and I believe we can go there and win.

Is it a good thing not to be overwhelming favourites for once?
It makes no difference, we’re under pressure in any case. If we’re badly beaten and get knocked out, our fans and the media aren’t going to go: ‘OK, it was Barcelona, nothing to see here.' No, we all have our expectations. We’re FC Bayern. We won’t be afraid.