Reus plots Dortmund path past Barcelona

Berlin (AFP) –


Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus insisted Monday that his team could beat Barcelona regardless of whether Lionel Messi plays or not, but feared however that Dortmund would 'have to suffer' when the two sides meet in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Messi is a doubt for Tuesday's game amid ongoing struggles with a calf injury, but Reus suggested Dortmund could win if they play to their own strengths instead of obsessing over the opponent.

"We have to concentrate on ourselves. We have a good team, we are at home, and we can win the game," said Reus at a press conference on Monday.

"It will of course be a tough game tomorrow, and we are going to have to suffer a lot," he said.

Tuesday's Champions League opener is a baptism of fire for Dortmund as they look to qualify from a fiercely difficult group which pits them against Barcelona, Inter Milan and Slavia Prague.

Yet Reus said his side were confident they could make a perfect start by beating Barcelona on Tuesday.

"It is important to start well in the group. We are confident enough to say that we can win the game," he said.

"We want to test ourselves against the best clubs. We have to be bold, push forward and try to score goals."

Both sides come into the game on the back of impressive results against top-four rivals in their domestic leagues at the weekend, as Dortmund thrashed Bayer Leverkusen 4-0, and Barcelona beat Valencia 5-2.

The injured Messi watched that win from the stands, meaning he is still waiting to make his first appearance for Barcelona this season.

The 32-year-old has been named in the squad for Tuesday's game, but is expected to make a cameo appearance at most in Dortmund.

Reus said he hoped that Messi would be on the pitch on Tuesday evening.

"I would be happy if he played. They are better with him because he has abilities which nobody else has," said the Dortmund captain.

Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said that it made little difference to his preparations whether Messi would play or not.

"They are good with or without him. They play 4-3-3," said the Swiss.

"They were very good against Valencia, when they had a 16-year-old playing in Ansu Fati."

"They can play football, but they are also good on the counter-attack. We will have to be on our game for 95 minutes tomorrow, and be ready for everything."