Arsène Wenger believes people thought he was crazy at the start of the season when he predicted Arsenal could win the Champions League.
At that point his youthful side were struggling to overcome the loss of Patrick Vieira and found it difficult to win away from home. The manager argued that "every day was working for him" as the youngsters developed and even ventured to suggest that this could be the year his side finally kicked on in Europe's top competition after under-achieving in previous years. Now they stand on the verge of winning it.
"You thought I was crazy," Wenger playfully told reporters ahead of the game, "and I still am!"
"We were out of the championship race very early, and maybe subconsciously we have chosen this competition this season.
"I felt that in the Champions League we had a good start, that concentration was fully there, and that we had the potential as well.
"If you are in there every year, then some years will go better for you than others."
Of course the mighty Barcelona stand in Arsenal's way but Wenger's men have not conceded a goal for 10 Champions League games. In the process they have knocked out Real Madrid and Juventus.
"Barcelona are the super-favourites and we are the dangerous outsider," said Wenger. "But I feel that if we play our natural game we are a super-dangerous outsider.
"My job is just to get the team to play at their best, just have a real go and I am convinced we would do that.
"Like many finals, so long as nobody scores, the match will be quite locked because of the importance of the competition.
"Once one team scores, though, it will then certainly be an open and crazy game."15 May 2006