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December 04, 2006

Barcelona must beat Bremen to survive in the Champions League

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Everybody in Barcelona is confident of defeating Werder Bremen at home on Tuesday, and thus qualifying for the next stage of the Champions League.

As we know, Group A leaders Chelsea have already ensured qualification and Barcelona must get the victory at the Nou Camp to pip the German leaders to the second qualifying slot.

Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard rested Ronaldinho in the weekend draw with Levante, showing the level of importance the Dutchman puts on this encounter.

In fact, the Brazilian playmaker said on Sunday that he "really couldn't wait for Tuesday to come."

We must remember that not since Barca flopped in 1992/93 season have the holders failed to reach the second round.

"i think it would be a real failure if we did not reach the knockout stage," said Barca midfielder Edmilson. "On Tuesday we really need to show everyone why we are the present champions of Europe."

Another footballer looking forward to the clash is Mexican defender Rafel Marquez, now fully fit after missing three games with a sprained ankle.

Actually Rijkaard will have to decide whether to bring back Marquez or stick by Lilian Thuram, who was moaning about being on the bench before Marquez's injury.

The rest of the Catalan team picks itself, with Ronaldinho upfield alongside Eidur Gudjohnsen and Ludovic Giuly.

The Blaugrana president Joan Laporta asked on Sunday for the help of the fans.

"I hope they really get behind the team on Tuesday," he admitted, "and I hope they don't become impatient if things don't go well right from the start."

Now let's talk about Chelsea. They entertain lowly Levski Sofia, who have lost all five group matches to date, knowing a win will ensure they finish top of the group.

Forwards Joe Cole (foot) and Arjen Robben (thigh) missed the 1-0 Premiership win at Bolton last Wednesday and are unlikely to be available, but Didier Drogba should have had time to recover from a strained groin suffered during that match.

Excellent overhead goal against Villarreal (video)

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Millions of fans are requesting to see the incredible goal Ronaldinho scored against Villarreal. So here it is... "absolutely breathtaking":