Pique calls for Copenhagen respect
© AFP

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique admits in-form Copenhagen's flying start to their UEFA Champions League campaign demands his side treat the Danish outfit with plenty of respect when the two meet at Camp Nou tomorrow.

Few would have predicted that Copenhagen, who finished bottom of their group in their only previous venture at this stage of the competition, would boast a two-point lead at the top of Group D after the opening two rounds of matches.

However, that is the case with Stale Solbakken's men having beaten Rubin Kazan and Panathinaikos without conceding a goal, leaving them clear of second-placed Barça and a massive five points above third-placed Rubin.

It is a great position for the Danes to be in and Pique knows 2009 champions Barça, who have not been in the greatest of form at home this season but downed previously unbeaten Primera Division leaders Valencia 2-1 on Saturday, cannot afford to be complacent.

Copenhagen have won both their games and this tells you everything. It may seem that they aren't as strong as Valencia, but if they've beaten opponents such as Rubin and Panathinaikos, we cannot be over-confident.
Gerard Pique, Barcelona defender

When asked if tomorrow's match is as vital as the Valencia one was, Pique told Sport: "Our opponents are not as well known, but the points are just the same or even more important. In the league an error can be rectified because the season is long, but it's difficult to turn around a slip-up at home in the Champions League.

"Copenhagen have won both their games and this tells you everything. It may seem that they aren't as strong as Valencia, but if they've beaten opponents such as Rubin and Panathinaikos, we cannot be over-confident."

Barça, who began their Group D campaign with a 5-1 mauling of Panathinaikos before drawing 1-1 at Rubin in their second match, are hoping history repeats itself in this year's competition as they look to win a fourth European Cup title in next May's final at Wembley stadium.

The Catalan giants won their first European Cup at the old Wembley in 1992 and Pique admits it world be "nice" to repeat that success this season. He added: "We will give it everything to get to Wembley, but we need to take it step by step. First we must win the group."

Barça's victory over Valencia, which saw them recover from a half-time deficit, lifted Pep Guardiola's side up to third in the Primera Division standings, a point behind leaders Real Madrid. In Denmark, Copenhagen are running away with their domestic league, where they have enjoyed a record-breaking start to the campaign.

Sunday's 5-0 mauling of UEFA Europa League participants Odense BK - who started the match in third place in the standings - was Copenhagen's tenth win in their last 11 competitive games. That win, inspired by a hat-trick from Cesar Santin, left Solbakken's outfit with 32 points from their 12 Super League games and a massive 12-point lead over second-placed Midtjylland.