Sergio Busquets warned that FC Barcelona must be on their guard when they face Bayer 04 Leverkusen at the Camp Nou on Wednesday, despite having a 3-1 first-leg cushion in their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie.
"They have got little to lose and plenty to gain so we have reason to be wary of them," Busquets said. "I don't believe they will sit back and settle for 30% ball possession [as they did in the first leg]; they will try to get the ball and attack. Leverkusen need goals. We need to turn that into our advantage, make use of the space and hit them on the counterattack."
Barcelona thrived on what little space they were afforded three weeks ago in Germany, Lionel Messi turning a precarious 2-1 advantage into a comfortable 3-1 lead two minutes from time as flagging Leverkusen pushed for an equaliser. Messi is likely to be in the side on Wednesday, fresh from his weekend suspension, but Alexis Sánchez, scorer of the visitors' first two goals at the Bay Arena, is out with a thigh strain.
His absence represents a "real shame" according to Busquets, though he is confident Barcelona have enough in reserve to deal with a physically imposing Leverkusen side. "I hope we don't suffer too much because of that strength," said the 23-year-old, who also drew parallels between Barcelona's vaunted youth system and Leverkusen's commitment to their academy. He hopes it will be men against boys at the Camp Nou, though.
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.