Barcelona v Bayer Leverkusen Preview, March 7th

by Punter's Hero on March 7, 2012

in Football, Latest News

Spanish giants Barcelona head home to the Camp Nou on March 7 to take on Bayer Leverkusen of Germany in the second leg of their round-of-16 Champions League tie. The Spaniards are in the driver’s seat after winning the first leg 3-1 in Germany.

However, Barcelona will have to play without the services of Alexis Sanchez in this game. Sanchez was the hero in the first leg with a pair of goals. The Chilean forward received an injury to his adductor muscle against Gijon though recently and is expected to miss a couple of weeks. Also, defender Eric Abidal has a groin injury and will likely miss the game and Thiago will be a game time decision.

Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola said his players can’t underestimate Leverkusen or take them for granted, especially since they beat Bayern Munich 2-0 on the weekend. He said his team will have to work hard to make sure they advance to the quarterfinal stage.

Manager Robin Dutt of Leverkusen said it’s going to be tough to win the tie now in Barcelona, but anything can happen if they play up to their potential. He said the 4,000 German fans that will make the trip should also give them a boost. However, Leverkusen will be missing Michael Ballack, Tranquillo Barnetta, and Sidney Sam and Vedran Corluka is questionable. Striker Eren Derdiyok could be back in action though.

The two teams have played each other seven times over the years in various European competitions and Barcelona has won the last four games. To make matters worse, just two Champion League teams have ever managed to advance in the tournament after losing at home in the first leg of a knockout tie. These were Inter Milan last year and Ajax back in the 1995/96 season.

Barcelona has allowed just 11 shots on net during this year’s Champions League season and has had more ball possession than their opponents in every one of their 45 European games under manager Pep Guardiola. They’ve also scored 70 goals in their past 28 European matches. Leverkusen hasn’t won in their past 11 Champions League road games and has lost eight of them while Barcelona is undefeated in their past 13 European contest with 11 of them being wins.

In addition, Barcelona tops the Champions League ball possession this with 74 per cent as well as the passing accuracy with 91 per cent. Lionel Messi is the man to watch since he has hit the back of the net 28 times in his past 29 Champions League games with seven of them coming this season. They also have a 49-game unbeaten string going at home in all competitions.

Barcelona v Bayer Leverkusen Predictions

Barcelona has four wins and a loss in their past five games while Leverkusen has three wins and two losses. The German club has a mountain to climb here and while they may make some progress it’s doubtful they’re going to do any better than draw in Barcelona.

William Hill’s latest odds have a Barcelona win at 1/6 with a Bayer Leverkusen victory at 14/1 and a 90-minute draw at 6/1.

Previous post:

Next post: