Barcelona coach Luis Enrique is ready for surprises when he comes up against Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich on Wednesday in what he believes will be an open and attractive game.
The Catalan side enter the final stage of the season with a trophy treble in their sights but they must overcome tough opponents in Bayern led by their former coach Guardiola in a heavyweight Champions League semifinal.
Guardiola won three La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues during a golden spell as Barca coach from 2008 until 2012 and is an iconic figure at the club having come through the youth academy and developed into a fine player.
Luis Enrique and Guardiola are good friends from playing together at the Nou Camp and for the Spanish national team and both are keen tacticians who like playing passing football.
After making a slow start to the season, Barca are now in ominous form with an attacking trident of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez who have scored 108 goals in all competitions.
“Having seen Bayern and knowing Pep, there could well be changes and surprises which can make things complicated for us,” Luis Enrique told a news conference on Tuesday.
“During the season, though, we have been overcoming problems that the opposition have thrown at us and even though it is Bayern and Pep, we will try and do the same again.
“I don’t think that Pep will have many doubts about what he will face. He knows the players and he knows how I was as a player. There is only one ball, we will both want to have it, and we will see who is on top and copes best on the pitch.
“I believe it will be one of the most attractive games that you will be able to see in Europe.”
Guardiola was a mentor for Lionel Messi who is poised to play his 100th European game, with 96 Champions League appearances and three European Super Cup matches.
“He knows us very well and we had some great times winning titles and he also knows the new players as he studies the game a lot,” Messi said.
“I try and take advantage of what I have learnt from when I start in the first team. When I was with Guardiola I developed and learnt a lot.”