Barcelona vs Spartak Moscow preview - Emery braced for Barca test



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Posted Wednesday, September 19, 2012 by PA

Spartak Moscow coach Unai Emery is preparing to face one of the toughest teams in the world in Wednesday's Champions League clash against Barcelona.

The Russian side travel to the Nou Camp in a tricky opening Group G fixture against the four-time European champions which will be new Barca coach Tito Vilanova's first test in the competition.

If Emery can lead his side to victory over Barcelona it will be the first time he has engineered a win over the Spanish giants in his career, following several attempts with Primera Division side Valencia, who he coached between 2008 and earlier this year.

The Spaniard, who made the switch to Spartak in May, knows what to expect from the star-studded Barcelona side, who are unbeaten in 16 European home outings dating back to October 2009.

"I am overjoyed to play Barcelona because they are one of the best three teams in the world, if not the best," Emery told www.marca.com.

"There is the added difficulty of dealing with them but there are more positive than negative things about facing Barcelona. We have to enjoy it."

Lionel Messi started from the bench in Barcelona's comfortable 4-1 win over Getafe last weekend and is expected to come back into the starting side, with striker David Villa also in contention after he scored in that game as a substitute.

Messi refuses to take anything for granted but is still setting his sights on making the final at Wembley next May.

He told the club's official website: "I don't think there are easy groups in the Champions League, I think all the opponents are complicated.

"It seems like some groups are more complicated than others but it's all decided on the pitch.

"You have to play the matches first, we know from experience that every team can make it complicated for you, they are difficult games."

Andres Iniesta, winner of UEFA's Best Player in Europe Award, added: "Wembley is important to Barcelona because we won two Champions League trophies there.

"There's still a very long road ahead of us. Football today is so balanced out that's it pretty difficult to make it into the final and win it, but we take it with anticipation."

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