When you think of Barcelona, most of us think of their star players, their style of total football and the numerous trophies they have won since the start of the Pep Guardiola era.

Barca had been so dominant in world football that no team could live with them. This season, however, is slightly different. Guardiola is gone and, although they are running away with La Liga, they have struggled in the Champions League and went close to exiting the competition again AC Milan before scraping past Paris Saint-Germain.

The general consensus is that this Barca side is not the force it once was, that Bayern are overall a more solid side, with more than enough attacking strength to score against the Catalans home and away. While Bayern are indeed a great side, the fact remains that Tito Villanova's side are still in the semi-finals - and due a big performance.

Against Milan and PSG, they showed their fighting spirit both times to come back when the chips were down. Barca's flowing football has allowed them to annihilate certain opposition in recent years. We often laud their systematic destruction of opposition defences, plundering huge victories. However, when they were on the edge, needing to score a goal and prevent one going in, they showed character we don't often get to see.

They may not have the attacking potency of the Guardiola era, as teams are better equipped to stop them, but they still have the winning mentality to get them over the line.

Many Barcelona players were in the Spain side that won Euro 2012. Before the final, critics said the Spanish were vulnerable at the back, not playing with the same fluidity, and for all their possession football, lacked enough of a goalscoring threat. Ninety minutes later, after four goals and the one of the greatest international performances of all time, all the criticism was forgotten. 

This Barcelona side can do the same, they have showed plenty of guts and heart to get this far. Their season has been epitomised by fighting spirit off the field, as Eric Abidal and Villanova have fought serious illness.

For all of Barca's silky skills, this team has a steely determination to win that doesn't get recognised enough. Bayern need to realise that Barcelona will fight to the death; even when Inter Milan and Chelsea knocked out Barca in recent years, the game wasn't settled until the death as the Catalan outfit pushed for a winner.

Barca's air of invincibility is gone: they are human and can be beaten. However, this collection of players can deliver when it matters; they have fought hard to get here, now it is time for their skill to show.

As the saying goes: 'Big game players, make big game plays'. Looking around that Barca side, I think they can deliver on that mantra.


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