Yeoman earns Knill praise

BY foxsports • April 23, 2013

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura knows the Catalans face the sternest test of their Champions League credentials at Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.

The Spaniards, who have won the trophy twice in the past five years and are into their sixth straight semi-final, arrived in Munich needing only to glance at the Bundesliga table to realise what they are up against.

With 81 points, 20 more than their nearest rivals and fellow Champions League semi-finalists Borussia Dortmund, just one defeat in 30 matches and 89 goals scored compared to just 14 conceded, Bayern's domestic record is frightening.

Add to that a 6-1 humbling of Wolfsburg in a DFB-Pokal semi-final a week ago, and the same scoreline to sweep Hannover aside in the Bundesliga on Saturday, then it is clear to see why Barca have arrived in Bavaria with plenty of respect for their hosts.

"It is going to be a very tight tie," assistant coach Roura told reporters as he stood in for Tito Vilanova at the pre-match press conference on Monday.

"It will probably come down to nuances. The side who manages to impose themselves the most on the game will have the best chance.

"We know how good Bayern are, and we know it's going to be hard not only tomorrow, but in the tie overall."

Bayern have steamrolled their way to a 23rd German title, yet that does not scare the Catalans.

BATE Borisov showed how it can be done by getting the better of the Bavarians in the group stage, while Arsenal pushed them to the brink in the last 16.

And Barca would not be Barca if they did not have belief in their own ability.

"We have a good feeling," Roura said. "We will try to play to our strengths and impose our own pace and intensity onto the game.

"We are really looking forward to it."

The Allianz Arena will be packed with 65,000 fans also looking forward to the game with many among the home faithful also eager to catch a glimpse of three-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.

They will have to wait until an hour before kick-off to find out if the Argentinian will start, however, with Roura not wanting to reveal too much.

Messi, who has scored eight goals in the competition so far this season, three more than Bayern's top scorer Thomas Muller, has missed Barca's last three league games due to a hamstring injury which makes him a doubt for Tuesday night.

"He's been feeling good over the past few days, but I don't know how he will feel tomorrow," Roura said.

"We'll make a decision tomorrow after consulting with the doctors.

"He is a special player and whether he plays or not will make a difference."

A special player for what promises to be a special night in Munich when two of Europe's top clubs in terms of tradition and prestige fight it out for a place at Wembley next month.

The Iron, fourth from bottom, are three points adrift of the club immediately above them in the table, Colchester, who have a three-goal better goal difference with one game left to play.

"All round I have to say that the team put in a much better performance," said Laws after Karl Hawley's close-range effort clinched a 1-0 win at MK Dons on Saturday.

"It gives us the chance to end the season with dignity.

"That was vital, not just for the players, but also the staff at the club and most importantly the supporters.

"We now have the chance to take it right down to the wire, the very last kick of the last game."

Scunthorpe take on Swindon at Glanford Park with the visitors already assured of a play-off finish, while Colchester travel to Carlisle.

The Torquay youth product's weaving run was finished off with a lovely left-footed finish to secure a 2-0 win at Morecambe and Knill says Yeoman will continue to improve after grabbing his second of the season.

"When he trains, you sometimes don't notice him because he's not a big personality but he has real good quality, and the more we work with him, the more that quality has come out," Knill told the club's official website.

"Everybody keeps telling me he's the best finisher at the club and it was a great finish from his left foot."

And Knill may have to start the forward against Bristol Rovers on Saturday with top scorer Rene Howe suspended having picked up his 15th yellow card of the campaign.


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