AC Milan faces true test of revival against Barcelona

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After clambering its way back up the Series A table, the true test of AC Milan's revival will come against Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday.

Milan had an awful start to the season and, lying 15th in the Series A after eight matches, seemed to be heading for a relegation fight rather than a title battle.

However, Milan has since climbed to third _ although it is still 11 points behind leader Juventus.

Barcelona poses Milan's sternest test yet. It commands a healthy double-digit lead in the Spanish league and is well on course to recover the domestic title. That means it can devote all its attention to Europe's top competition as it searches for its fourth title in eight years.

Even though the sides will meet for the fifth time in two seasons, it will be special for Milan striker Bojan Krkic, who progressed through the ranks at Barcelona, scoring 41 goals in 163 appearances.

"It is a different game, a special game for me but I don't want to think too much about what feelings I have inside. I just want to concentrate on the game and on the 90 minutes of football that awaits us,'' Bojan said.

"I have never played against Barcelona and for that very reason this is more than just a game for me, but I'm just thinking of helping the team. It's the only thing I want to do.''

Milan will be underdogs against a Barcelona side which has lost only twice all season in the league and in Europe.

It will be the fifth time the two teams meet in the Champions League at San Siro and Milan has only won one of those encounters, in the group stage in the 2004-05 season.

"We are going through a positive period. We have to believe in ourselves,'' Bojan said.

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