Barcelona vs Bayer Leverkusen – UEFA Champions League – Preview

Posted on by Sreya

Real Sociedad vs Barcelona

Barcelona will face Bayer Leverkusen in a Group E fixture at Camp Nou on Matchday 2 of the UEFA Champions League as the current European champions look to bounce back from their disappointing start in Europe. The Catalan club managed only a 1-1 draw at Rome two weeks back. Their opponents tomorrow, Bayer Leverkusen comfortably dispatched BATE Borisov in a 4-1 win at home.

Team News

Lionel Messi joined the list of injured players at the La Liga club on the weekend, when the Argentine forward had to be taken off with a knee injury. Scans have revealed the Barcelona player will be out of action for at least two months. He is joined on the sidelines by Rafinha and Claudio Bravo. Jordi Alba and Thomas Vermaelen are listed as doubtful, but the former will face a late fitness test. Should Alba not feature in the matchday squad, Adriano will start at left-back.

Bayer Leverkusen have their own injury concerns as well with Charles Aranguiz, Tin Jedvaj and Omer Toprak being the long-term absentees. Roberto Hilbert is a doubt for Roger Schmidt’s side and will probably be rested.

Barcelona Possible Starting Lineup: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Adriano, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Munir El Haddadi, Luis Suarez, Neymar.

Bayer Leverkusen Possible Starting Lineup: Bernd Leno, Giulio Donati, Jonathan Tah, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Wendell, Lars Bender, Christoph Kramer, Karim Bellarabi, hakan Calhanoglu, Kevin Kampl, Stefan KieBling.

Thoughts From Both Camps

“It’s bad news for us. Like it or not, Messi is our best player, the one who causes the most problems. I’m very sad for him. It’s a major loss but now we have to become even stronger.”

– Marc Batra, Barcelona.

“It’s a game that we should look forward to. The team worked hard for a whole season [to play] this kind of match. We should enjoy the game and have fun. In football, anything is possible and we can definitely get something in Barcelona. We have to go into the game with confidence and be fully focused.”

– Christoph Kramer, Bayer Leverkusen.

Contributor’s Pick

Barcelona have won their last five matches against Bayer Leverkusen in all competitions and are unbeaten in eleven of their last twelve matches in the UEFA Champions League. According to Head-2-Head statistics, Barcelona have won 83% of their matches against Bayer Leverkusen. Even without Lionel Messi, Luis Enrique’s side is exceptionally strong, especially at home. Although Bayer Leverkusen sit on top of Group E at the moment, Barcelona are the favourites to win, with 3-1 being the most probable scoreline.

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