Champions League Preview: Bayer Leverkusen - Barcelona
The Catalan giants will be hoping to extend their dominance over German opposition in recent seasons as they prepare to face Robin Dutt's side in the round of 16
By Karthick Arvinth
Corluka, Schwaab, Friedrich, Kadlec
Castro, Reinartz, Rolfes
Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal
Xavi, Mascherano, Iniesta
Fabregas, Messi, Sanchez
Michael Ballack suffered a calf injury during training on Sunday and will miss Bayer Leverkusen's round of 16 first leg clash with Barcelona on Tuesday. The news comes as a blow to Bayer coach Robin Dutt, who is already without his two top scorers, Eren Derdiyok (foot) and Sidney Sam (thigh).
Defender Danny da Costa should be fit after suffering a knock to his shin during training.
Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets, who has been missing from action with a bruised knee since 4 February, is included in the squad travelling to Germany, and may feature at the BayArena.
Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Cesc Fabregas could all start for the Catalan outfit after the trio were left on the bench for Saturday's defeat at Osasuna.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Bayer Leverkusen and Barcelona have met each other six times in European competition, with the Catalan club notching three wins to Bayer's two.
- Leverkusen, who are sixth in the Bundesliga table, are bidding to reach the last eight of the Champions League for the first time since 2002, when they went on to lose to Real Madrid in the final.
- The German club's overall home record against Spanish opposition is W5 D3 L4.
- Barcelona have avoided defeat in their last seven trips to Germany (W4 D3).
- However, Leverkusen were the last German side to beat the reigning European champions on German soil - a 2-1 win in the 2001-02 Champions League first group stage.
- With six goals to his name, Lionel Messi (pictured) was joint-top scorer of the Champions League group stages along with Bayern Munich's Mario Gomez.
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Top 3 Predictions
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0-3 FC Barcelona
- 15.28 %
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1-3 FC Barcelona
- 12.7 %
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0-2 FC Barcelona
- 10.9 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Mar 7, 2012||FC Barcelona 7 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Feb 14, 2012||Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1 - FC Barcelona 3|
|Bayer 04 Leverkusen|
|Mar 8, 2014||Hannover 96 1 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1||GER1|
|Mar 1, 2014||Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0 - Mainz 1||GER1|
|Feb 22, 2014||VfL Wolfsburg 3 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1||GER1|
|Feb 18, 2014||Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0 - Paris Saint-Germain 4||UCL|
|Feb 15, 2014||Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1 - Schalke 04 2||GER1|
|20||D. da Costa||Defender|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|12||Jonathan Dos Santos||Midfielder|
A defender by trade, the 23-year-old Germany international has been mainly employed as a holding midfielder this season, and he will be the man screening Bayer's defence from Messi's guile.
The midfield maestro was surprisingly an unused substitute for the second league game in a row, as Barcelona crashed to defeat on a freezing night in Pamplona at the weekend. A re-energised Xavi - along with the returning Iniesta - could just be the answer to get the zip back in Barca's play away from Camp Nou.
Leverkusen would probably have wanted Barcelona to win at the weekend, as a defeat means they have to contend with the prospect of a backlash from the visitors. The Catalans have some key personnel returning to action and should have too much for their hosts on what looks set to be another freezing night of football in Germany.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed