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May 1, 2013

Pique believes comeback is possible

Gerard Pique says that if any team can turn around a 4-0 scoreline in a Champions League semi-final second leg against a seemingly rampant Bayern Munich, it is his Barcelona side.

• Wanted: Convincing comeback

Barca will begin Wednesday evening's return game at the Camp Nou with most assuming they are only playing for pride against the recently crowned Bundesliga champions, but the Catalan centre-half said he and his team-mates still believe they can mount a historic comeback and make May 25's final at Wembley.

"If there is one team that can fight back from a 4-0 deficit against this Bayern Munich, it is this Barca," Pique said. "We cannot feel as though we have already been eliminated. An early goal would give us a lot of confidence. We are part of a club with a lot of history. And we will do our best to add to that history."

The Catalan defender said hope had built since the first leg among the blaugrana squad.

"The players believe a comeback is 100% possible," he said. "As the days have gone by we have been bolstering our confidence with positive messages. Football is also psychological. If the right things come together and we get lucky, anything is possible."

Pique repeated the idea put forward by coach Tito Vilanova on Tuesday that Barca needed to play better, not differently, than the first leg if they were to cause Bayern problems.

"We need to open up the pitch, have possession and move the ball quickly," he said. "We have to be very offensive. The wide backs have to push forward. [Lionel] Messi has to be part of the game. The forwards have to be incisive and the midfielders need to find more room in the middle of the pitch."

While scoring four goals is possible, especially if Messi hits form, a Barca clean sheet seems unlikely given the attacking power shown by Bayern at the Allianz Arena, and the weaknesses betrayed by Pique and his fellow defenders.

This task was complicated even further on Tuesday, with Sergio Busquets (groin) and Eric Abidal (knee) excluded from the match squad, and confirmation that Javier Mascherano had not recovered from his knee ligament injury in time.

Vilanova looks set to name Alex Song in Busquets' shielding pivote midfield role, with Adriano Correia in place of the suspended Jordi Alba at left-back, and Marc Bartra again beside Pique in the centre.

The Spain international accepted his side would need to defend a lot better this week, especially at corner kicks.

"We know Bayern are very strong at set-pieces and dead balls," he said. "In Munich we had nine corners against us in the first half. we know we are not as good at that and need to improve. You can concede at any corner, but we need to avoid them. And when we need to defend them, we should grit our teeth and jump as high as anyone."

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