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UEFA Champions League

Bayer Leverkusen face uphill task of upsetting Juventus

07:01 GMT 11/12/2019
Kai Havertz Bayer Leverkusen 2018-19
The Bundesliga side need to defeat the Serie A giants and hope Atletico Madrid fail to beat Lokomotiv Moscow...

Ahead of the final matchday of the Champions League, Bayer Leverkusen face an uphill task of having to upset Juventus to have a chance of progressing to the knock-out stage.

The German side is in third position in Group D, having collected six points in five games. Atletico Madrid have seven and Juventus have qualified as group winners with 13 points. This means the Leverkusen must defeat the Serie A giants and hope Atletico fail to defeat Lokomotiv Moscow.

Leverkusen failed to win a single game in the first three rounds and this has come back to bite them at a time when they are slowly finding their feet. Having defeated Bayern Munich and Schalke recently, Leverkusen will be confident of a positive show against Juventus.

However, the pressure accompanying a must-win game in the Champions League​​ will require more than just a good run of form. Top players need to perform, the referees must ensure an error-free game and the result from another game must go in Leverkusen must go in their way. Among these, only the former is in their control and they must ensure to give their all.

The onus will be on Kevin Volland, who has scored five goals and provided five more in the Bundesliga this season. He will look to improve his Champions League tally that currently reads one goal from five games.

Young sensation Kai Havertz will be in focus and a solid performance in midfield could bump up his transfer value besides providing his side with a chance of progressing to the last-16.

It’s very important that the defence is as tight at the back as the attack must be prolific upfront. Leverkusen will be up against one of the fiercest attacks in the world consisting of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Douglas Costa.

Jonathan Tah and Sven Bender must not leave any margin for error against these big names. Julian Baumgartlinger might have to drop deeper provide support.

The Serie A champions have two incredible free-kick takers in Miralem Pjanic and Dybala. The latter stole the headlines two weeks ago with a jaw-dropping free-kick from a tight angle to surprise Jan Oblak and Atletico. This means that Leverkusen can’t afford to give away generous free-kicks.

Leverkusen have a tough task ahead of them, but it is not impossible. Juventus have no incentive to win this one and Maurizio Sarri could experiment. But the Bundesliga side can’t bank on this and must deliver their best performance of the season nevertheless.

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