Barcelona Confirm Ousmane Dembele Fit to Face Bayern in UCL

Ousmane Dembele

Getty Ousmane Dembele

Barcelona manager Quique Setien has confirmed forward Ousmane Dembele is fit to face Bayern Munich in Friday’s Champions League quarter-final in Portugal.

The Frenchman was ruled out for six months in February after suffering a torn hamstring in training but is in the squad for the crunch clash against the Bundesliga giants.

Setien was asked about Dembele in his pre-match press conference and said the forward could make his long-awaited return from injury in the Champions League.

“I think everyone will be pleased he’s able to be here and be in the squad. Obviously he’s going to be able to play and might be able to play a few minutes if the opportunity arises. It’s been nearly a year without being able to participate, but we have the possibility of him playing a few minutes and doing well.”

Dembele’s last appearance came in Europe’s top competition back in November against Borussia Dortmund. The Frenchman has looked sharp in training ahead of Friday’s match.

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Setien Expecting Close Match

Barcelona will head into Friday’s match as underdogs, but Setien is confident his side can knock the Bundesliga champions out of the tournament.

The 61-year-old also said he is expecting a close contest against Hansi Flick’s side and explained how his team can hurt their opponents.

“Of course, we are convinced. We know the potential of the rival, their numbers and their capacity, with extraordinary potential, but we are too. I think it will be an even game, with alternatives. We have a lot to say in this game.

“Many things worry us about them, they are a complete side – they can pressure you, they can defend too, they have a lot of threats with a lot of players in attack.

“They press you well, we know this, but let’s see if we can beat their press. Something we have going for us is our ability to keep the ball and overcome that pressing from other teams. If we get through that we can hurt them. I don’t see one team dominating. It’s whoever takes their chances that’ll get through.”

Bayern have looked imperious in the Champions League so far this season. The team won all six group matches, scoring 24 goals along the way, and hammered Chelsea 7-1 on aggregate in the last-16.

Setien Joins Lewandowski-Messi Debate

The build-up to the match has seen plenty of comparisons between Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski and Barcelona captain Lionel Messi who are both expected to play key roles.

Lewandowski is the tournament’s top scorer on 13 goals and has enjoyed another prolific campaign, but Setien still believes he is not quite up to Messi’s standard.

“Lewandowski is a great footballer but I don’t think he’s up to Leo. It’s clear, he’s in a great moment and he’s very well assisted by teammates who can hurt him. Leo we also saw him against Napoli. It’s good that we can enjoy of footballers like that.”

“Leo Messi can help us win this game, of course, but I always believe in the strength of the team. You have to help Messi and give him the ball. It’s true he can make goals for himself but without the strength of the team, Leo would be less, just like any other player you can highlight.”

Setien is under scrutiny at Barcelona after missing out on the league title and will know defeat to Bayern will heap more pressure on his shoulders.

Victory for either side on Friday will leave them just two games away from European glory, with the winners set to progress to a semi-final against Manchester City or Lyon.

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