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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr, 8, 2008

Schalke's Slomka insists no Barca miracle needed

BARCELONA, April 8 (Champions League) - Schalke coach Mirko Slomka insists his side do not need 'a miracle' to beat Barcelona and progress into the Champions League semi-finals.

The Royal Blues head into the second leg at the Nou Camp on Wednesday needing to recover from a 1-0 deficit following Bojan Krkic's first-half goal in Gelsenkirchen last week.

'Barcelona are a very good team with some very good players, but we are coming here to try and win the game,' he said on Tuesday.

The German team have never reached the last-four of Europe's premier club competition, however Slomka said: 'To say it will be a miracle would be an exaggeration.

'If the players give everything and play a good game individually and collectively, we definitely can win the match and go through.'

Barcelona have suffered indifferent form recently, winning just once in their past eight domestic matches, however Slomka rejected the idea that this is an ideal time to face the Catalans.

'Why do you say that?' he asked.

'We lost 1-0 in the first match and they put us under a lot of pressure in the first half. In the second half we did a lot better.

'Just because they drew 0-0 with Getafe at the weekend does not mean this is a good time to play them.'

Slomka also believes Wednesday's match will be different to Sunday's league game because unlike Getafe, his side must score at the Nou Camp.

'It's not a good example because Getafe didn't score and we need to score to remain in the tie,' he said.

Barcelona are without injured trio Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi and Deco, but the Schalke coach says the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta will pose a threat to his side.

'All of their players are dangerous. Those three are important, but there are others like Iniesta and Xavi. They are very strong even without Ronaldinho, Deco and Messi,' he said.

The 40-year-old manager hopes his side can soak up Barcelona's early pressure on Wednesday.

'They will be under a lot of pressure to win the game. We have to resist the pressure in the first half and it is very important that we are strong in the second half,' he said.

'We are a good team in Europe, we are going to try to put them off their game and cause them problems.

'We need to play a good game and I want to see good performances from my players.'

A full house of 98,000 fans is expected at the Nou Camp, but Slomka says his side will not be intimidated by the hostile atmosphere at Europe's largest stadium.

'It is very impressive, but we have seen that before at Chelsea and Valencia and I am sure we can handle it again,' he said.

Slomka revealed he will hand late fitness tests to Heiko Westermann, Mladen Krstajic and Christian Pander, but all are expected to feature on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Turkey striker Halil Altintop also believes his side can reach the Champions League semi-finals.

'We want to win, to advance to the semi-finals and continue in the championship, and I believe we have a good chance,' he said on Tuesday.

The 25 year-old attacker claims his side have learnt from last week's first-leg defeat.

'We didn't understand very well at first. In the second half we improved and that makes us a lot more optimistic for the second game,' he said.

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