Barcelona in must win situation

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> FC Barcelona need victory against Werder Bremen on Tuesday to avoid being the first defending champion not to reach the knockout stage.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:38 IST
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FC Barcelona is on the verge of creating an unwanted European Champions League record - it need victory against Werder Bremen on Tuesday to avoid being the first defending champion not to reach the knockout stage. Bremen only need a point from the match at the Camp Nou to join English champion Chelsea from Group A in the next round. Arsenal, the club Barcelona beat in May's final, also faces a crucial game but only needs a draw at FC Porto on Wednesday. Manchester United, Benfica, AS Roma, Shakhtar Donetsk, AEK Athens and Lille are also in contention to qualify as the final round of group games approach. Group position Barcelona is third in Group A with eight points - two points behind Chelsea and Werder Bremen - and warmed up with a 1-1 draw with Levante in the Spanish league on Saturday. "We're not worried nor are we frightened,'' Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard said. "We have, as always, respect for the opposition. The only thing which worries me is leaving a good impression and doing my job well." Bremen drew confidence from its 3-1 win over Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga on Saturday. "The first half was world class," Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese said. "If we play like that in Barcelona, we have good chances to advance." Striker Miroslav Klose - the leading scorer at the World Cup - has six goals in Bremen's last four games and played a role in eight of the team's last nine goals. The two drew 1-1 in Bremen on September 27, with Lionel Messi scoring an 89th-minute equalizer for Barca. Joining Chelsea in the next round are Bayern Munich and Inter Milan from Group B; Liverpool and PSV Eindhoven from Group C; Valencia from Group D; Lyon and Real Madrid from Group E; Celtic from Group F; and AC Milan from Group H. The third-place clubs in each of the eight groups will drop down to the UEFA Cup - and Bordeaux in Group C and Steaua Bucharest in Group E have already secured their place. Group G is the only one to be decided on the final day. Arsenal and Porto have 10 points, with CSKA on eight and Hamburg with zero. Victory for Arsenal or Porto will give them first place, while a draw will carry both clubs through, with the Gunners finishing first. CSKA Moscow can only advance if it beats Hamburger SV and the either Porto or Arsenal loses. Arsenal will be without suspended striker Thierry Henry, but carries the momentum from its victory over north London rival Tottenham 3-0 in the English Premier League on Saturday without the Frenchman, who was missing because of a neck injury. "We did our job but need to continue - on Wednesday we have a very difficult game against Porto away to decide our future in the Champions League but we go there to come back with the result," Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva said. Benfica again finds itself poised to eliminate Manchester United at Old Trafford. The Portuguese club's 2-1 win in the final group rotation last season at the famed stadium ensured United missed out on the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time in 10 years. Benfica then went on to eliminate 2005 champion Liverpool before losing to Barcelona in the quarterfinals. Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was unhappy with his side's missed chances in its 2-1 win over Middlesbrough on Saturday, which gave it a six-point lead in the Premier League. AS Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk are in contention to join Valencia in advancing from Group D on Tuesday. Roma only needs a draw at home to Valencia to advance - but if it loses and Shakhtar beats Olympiakos, the Ukraine club will advance. Bayern Munich host Inter Milan on Tuesday to decide the winner and runner-up of Group B. Bayern only need a draw to finish first. Sporting only needs a draw at home to Spartak Moscow to qualify for the UEFA Cup. In Group C, PSV host Bordeaux and Liverpool go to Galatasaray on Tuesday. Liverpool has already won the group. (AP)

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