Madrid, Feb 25 : The fans of European champions Barcelona are fairly confident that their team can retain the continental crown.
This is the conclusion to be drawn from an online opinion taken by Catalan sports daily Mundo Deportivo, asking its readers who will win the Champions League, in which 16,709 votes had been registered by Thursday.
56 per cent of readers, most of whom are Barca fans, have voted for Pep Guardiola's reigning champions.
On Tuesday, Barca did well to battle out a 1-1 draw away to VFb Stuttgart in a vibrant round of 16 first leg clash.
Guardiola's team were outplayed by the Germans in the first half but steadied the ship after the interval and equalized through Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The return leg will be played at the Camp Nou, March 17.
Not since the sumptuous AC Milan side of Arrigo Sacchi of 20 years ago with the likes of Franco Baresi, Frank Rijkaard, Ruud Gullitt and Marco Van Basten has a team managed to win back-to-back Champions titles.
Curiously, 24 per cent of Mundo Deportivo readers have voted for deadly rivals Real Madrid, who lost 1-0 away to Olympique Lyon in their round of 16 first leg.
Real will have an in-form Cristiano Ronaldo to help them in the second leg, on March 10, but will be without the suspended Marcelo and Xabi Alonso.
Real - who have not gone beyond the round of 16 since 2004 - are especially keen to reach the final because it will be played at their own Estadio Bernabeu.
Nine per cent of readers have opted for Chelsea, despite their 2-1 defeat away to Inter Milan on Wednesday. Four per cent have voted for Inter, two per cent for Manchester United, one per cent for AC Milan and one per cent for Bayern Munich.
Another interesting Mundo Deportivo poll asks its readers how many trophies Real win this season.
18,709 votes had been registered by Thursday, with 56 per cent optimistically voting "nothing."
As seen above, 24 per cent of readers believe that Real will win the Champions, whilst just 19 per cent believe they will win La Liga.
Barca are two points ahead of Real in the league, but have to go to the Estadio Bernabeu for what promises to be a decisive showdown on April 10.(DPA)