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Champions League preview: Barcelona v Bayer Leverkusen

5 March 2012 18:35

Barcelona are primed to book a Champions League quarter-finals place as they take a 3-1 lead into the second leg against Bayer Leverkusen.

La Liga giants Barca, the reigning European champions, are aiming to reach the last eight of the competition for the fifth consecutive season, and have the luxury of taking a two-goal advantage into the return leg of their round-of-16 clash at Camp Nou on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola's men have been inconsistent in the league this campaign, falling 10 points adrift of rivals Real Madrid.

Their 3-1 win over Sporting Gijon on Saturday came without Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, who missed the match through suspension.

Barca have an imposing record in European home matches, unbeaten in their last 13 - including 11 wins - dating back to October 2009.

Messi will return for the second leg having terrorised the Leverkusen defence in the previous meeting on February 14, while Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez netted a brace in that win.

But Barca will be without Sanchez for the second leg after he limped off with a torn thigh muscle in the victory over Sporting Gijon.

Guardiola's star-studded midfield are again likely to dominate possession, although for a brief spell after half-time in the first leg Robin Dutt's side showed they were capable of matching it with the European champions.

The huge task facing Dutt's Bundesliga outfit is underlined by their miserable Champions League away record.

Leverkusen have failed to win in their last 12 Champions League away matches, drawing three and losing nine.

Stefan Kiessling was on the scoresheet in Leverkusen's 2-0 league win over Bayern Munich on Saturday, and with his side needing goals in Spain, must play a big part if they are to progress.

Switzerland attacker Eren Derdiyok is still searching for his first goal of the year and could be given a start as Leverkusen look to erase the deficit against Barcelona.

But Barca's stellar home record and form means this shapes as an almost an impossible task for Leverkusen at Camp Nou.

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Info

Competition
UEFA Champions League
Date
7 March 2012
Kick-off
20:45
Half-time
2 - 0
Full-time
7 - 1
On aggregate
10 - 2
Venue
Camp Nou (Barcelona)
Attendance
75632

Goals

L. Messi 25'
(assist by Xavi) 
1 - 0
L. Messi 42'
(assist by Iniesta) 
2 - 0
L. Messi 49'
(assist by Fàbregas) 
3 - 0
Tello 55'
(assist by Fàbregas) 
4 - 0
L. Messi 58'  
5 - 0
Tello 62'
(assist by Dani Alves) 
6 - 0
L. Messi 84'
(assist by S. Kéita) 
7 - 0
7 - 1
90' K. Bellarabi
 (assist by S. Rolfes)

Lineups

# Player Bookings
1
2
21
3
14
4
8
6
16
10 25' 42' 49' 58' 84'
17
Coach: Guardiola

Substitutes

# Player Bookings
15
37 55' 62'
26
13
30
32
39
# Player Bookings
9
38 90'
4
5
17
36
28

Sunday 21 September

Saturday 20 September

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Friday 19 September

23:17
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21:48
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