[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] History is not on the side of Barcelona in its semifinal series with Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League. Only twice in nine series has a team come back from a 1-0 loss in the first leg to go through to the final. And only four out of 23 times has a team lost the first leg of the semifinals and advanced. Here are three keys to Tuesday's second leg at the Nou Camp (TV: Fox Soccer, Fox Deportes, 2:30 pm ET) ...
MESSI'S FORM.Lionel Messi has scored 63 goals this season for Barcelona, four short of the record Gerd Mueller's set with Bayern Munich in the 1972-73 season, but Messi shot blanks in Barca's last two games, the 1-0 loss at Chelsea and 2-1 loss at home to Real Madrid on Saturday. He didn't even have a shot on goal, setting off alarm bells across Catalonia.
Barca coach Pep Guardiola, for one, says he is not worried.
“How many goals has he scored this season? He’s scored an incredible amount. He lives for scoring, helping his people. Let him be happy on the field.”
PIQUE'S RETURN.Central defender Gerard Pique will return to the Barca lineup after missing the first leg in London and the Madrid Clasico. His job will be to shut down Didier Drogba, who scored the lone goal in the first leg, and to come out of the Barca attack.
Talk of a rift between Pique and Guardiola has been dismissed by both men.
"Of course, I would have liked to play against Chelsea and Real Madrid," Pique said, "but it would be a mistake to think about those two games now. That will not take me anywhere."
CHELSEA'S SHAPE.Chelsea won the first leg, but Barcelona still managed to outshoot the Blues, 19-4, in London. Chelsea will have to keep its shape in the second leg or it will be under total siege.
“Many teams who play Barcelona think that you have to steal the ball from them," says Chelsea's Spanish striker, Fernando Torres. "But I don’t think that’s possible. You have to use different weapons against them. If you want to steal the ball, you won’t manage it and you’ll get tired, and then create more space for your opponent.”