Blocking their path to the final in Berlin on 6 June are FC Barcelona, Bayern's hosts in the semi-final first leg on Wednesday. In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, centre-back Medhi Benatia reveals his thoughts on facing Lionel Messi, and evaluates his own personal fitness after a trying season with injuries.
bundesliga.com: Medhi Benatia, what was your reaction to Bayern drawing Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals?
Medhi Benatia: The four semi-finalists are all quality sides and it doesn’t really matter who you face at this stage. Real Madrid, Juventus, Barcelona and ourselves, we all want to win the title in Berlin.
bundesliga.com: What kind of performance will Bayern need in the first leg to get a result?
Benatia: We definitely can’t afford to make mistakes like we did in the quarter-final first leg in Porto. First and foremost we have to be solid at the back, be disciplined and make the most of our chances. That’s exactly what we failed to do against Borussia Dortmund [in the DFB Cup defeat].
'I'm not scared of Messi'bundesliga.com: Are you scared of the prospect of playing against Barcelona’s attacking trio Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar?
Benatia: No, nt at all. I certainly respect those players but I’m not scared. I’ve played against Suarez in the Europa League when I was at Roma and he was at Liverpool so I already know him. Jerome Boateng and I are a strong defensive duo and if we manage to stay focused throughout the game we’ll manage to do well at Camp Nou. I’m absolutely positive.
bundesliga.com: You’re facing Barcelona for the first time in your career. Are you looking forward to it?
Benatia: I’m expecting two games at the highest level. We’ll have to make sure we’re at our best both times to be able to reach the final.
bundesliga.com: Is it your dream to get to the final?
Benatia: I joined Bayern eight months ago to finally play in the Champions League, but also to win this competition. We definitely have the potential. However, I don't have dreams and I’m not looking beyond the semis right now, although winning the Champions League is one of my biggest goals.
'I'm fit and can be relied on'bundesliga.com: Pep Guardiola has been playing you a lot and seems to have a lot of faith in you...
Benatia: I haven't forgotten that he wanted to sign me last summer. I want to repay his trust with good performances, and I did that against Dortmund. We have a great relationship which is really important for my confidence.
bundesliga.com: You played the full 120 minutes against Dortmund after sitting out a several games. Are you back to full fitness yet?
Benatia: I was pretty exhausted towards the end against BVB but I've showed that I’m fit again and that I can be relied on. I felt very good on the pitch. I’m hoping my body will be fine and that I won’t have any more injuries this season. I’ve had a number of niggles this term.
Medhi Benatia was speaking to Alexis Menuge