This is definitely one of the most interesting duels of the second round of the Champions League. Of course, Barcelona is a big favorite, but the Leverkusen can be very uncomfortable, especially if they are underestimated.
They played in a very difficult group with Chelsea and Valencia and yet they succeeded to pass to the elimination round. In the domestic league however, they don’t play at the expected level. The hosts are in a series of three games without a win. Two times they obtained a draw, conceding an away defeat on Saturday against the current champions from Dortmund. The game which I saw there was everything else than encouraging ahead of such a difficult match as against Barca. Still, Leverkusen won all three home matches during the CL group phase and against Valencia and Chelsea even being down by 1 goal. This will give the German team for sure some self confidence. Knowing the German mentality, Barcelona will have everything else than a walk in the park in the Bay Arena on Tuesday night.
Barcelona has secured the second round easily, but in the domestic championship, they have also failed to convince and are 7 points behind archrival Real Madrid. The Catalans were shocked again in the championship and it is now almost certain that this team will be without a domestic trophy. The league title is almost gone and in hands of Real so far, but the Champions League is still remaining. And after all problems in the domestic league, they can not even take into consideration another misstep in form of a CL out. There is still the Spanish Cup, but the Cup trophy isn’t valuable at all, well, at least if your name isn’t Mourinho. So, the focus is now on the Champions League.
That means that there will be no relaxation in this encounter. Even with unstable performances and although Barca can make up any gap in their own stadium, they will try to solve the dilemma already in the Bay Arena. Coach Guardiola has many problems with injuries and the last warning shot after underestimating an opponent came in Pamplona on Saturday night. In the middle of the first half already two goals down. Later, they tried everything, even with a total offensive with only two defensive players left, but in the end Osasuna still celebrated a 3-2 victory. Busquets is still injured while Villa, Affelay and Fonta are out already for some time.
Iniesta has recovered, but he remained on the bench in Pamplona just like Xavi, while Fabregas was only a substitute. At least two of them will start at Leverkusen and that means that we can expect a very offensive team from Barcelona.
Leverkusen proved already this season that their home performances in the CL are at a maximum with wins over Genk, Valancia and Chelsea. They will definitely give everything they have so that the return leg at the Nou Camp don’t remain only a formality. On the other hand, Barcelona will not allow any further mistakes and will try to seal their 1/4 qualification already in Leverkusen. Therefore, we can expect a goal galore tomorrow. Take the over in this exciting encounter. Good luck!
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