Borussia Monchengladbach coach Andre Schubert says his side have nothing to fear against a Barcelona team shorn of the injured Lionel Messi for Wednesday’s Champions League clash.
Barcelona opened their assault on Europe a fortnight ago with a 7-0 drubbing of Celtic at the Camp Nou while the Germans suffered a 4-0 defeat at Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
But Schubert, whose contract has been extended until 2019, insists his side need not be intimidated.
“There is no reason to be awestruck. We will approach the game with energy, joy and a willingness to fight,” Schubert told a Tuesday press conference.
Schubert’s new deal, announced on Tuesday, is recognition for steering Gladbach from bottom of the Bundesliga when he took over in September 2015 to Champions League qualification by finishing fourth.
The show of faith in the 45-year-old coach is a timely boost ahead of the visit of Luis Enrique’s Barcelona, who are without groin-injury victim Messi.
“We’d liked to have seen Lionel Messi at Borussia Park,” said Schubert.
“We always like to play against very, very good teams, but the best player in the world will be missing.
“Barcelona are very dangerous going forward. We have to be brave enough to play our own football against this team.
“We want to be true to our own style, but also react well tactically.”
Messi, 29, missed Saturday’s 5-0 thrashing away to Sporting Gijon and is due to also sit out their forthcoming Spanish league match at Celta Vigo.
In his absence, Luis Suarez and Neymar came to the fore at Gijon, who played the final 10 minutes with 10 men, as Suarez opened the scoring before Neymar netted twice in the closing stages.
Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba, Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta were all rested at Sporting and the quartet are expected to return in Germany.
With Rakitic and Iniesta returning to the midfield, Turkey international Arda Turan is likely to move forward to accompany Suarez and Neymar.
– Emotional ter Stegen return –
For the German hosts, Brazilian forward Raffael and winger Patrick Herrmann are expected to return after injuries.
Both Tobias Strobl (thigh) and Alvaro Dominguez (back) will be absent, but there are no fresh injury concerns for Gladbach.
Captain Lars Stindl says his team is looking forward to measuring themselves against one of the world’s best.
“Barcelona is something special, one of the biggest teams in the world,” said the attacking midfielder.
“We want to contain them and seek our own fortune.”
Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen will return to the club where he started his career before joining the Spanish giants in 2014.
“Borussia is my first love and that will always be the case. My farewell really was overwhelming,” said the 24-year-old Germany shot-stopper, who won the 2015 Champions League with Barca in Berlin.
“My return to Gladbach has definitely come sooner than expected and I absolutely cannot wait for it.
“I had a great time there and spent my entire career there apart from the last two years.
“But Barcelona was one of the few clubs I just couldn’t turn down. I’m sure the Borussia fans can understand the decision that I made.”Punch