Forward André Schürrle told UEFA.com he feared Bayer 04 Leverkusen will struggle to overcome their first-leg deficit and deny FC Barcelona a place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
The German international endured a tiring and largely frustrating evening at the BayArena as Leverkusen's brave resistance was worn down and eventually overrun by the reigning champions, who take a 3-1 advantage into the return match in Spain in three weeks' time. With Barcelona enjoying 72% possession in the round of 16 encounter, Schürrle's task as one of his side's few attacking threats was a thankless one.
"Perhaps our build-up play wasn't good enough, and then it's difficult to be dangerous in front of goal. Defensively, though, we were good," said the 21-year-old, who saw his team's stubborn first-half display undone by Alexis Sánchez's 41st-minute strike. Although Michal Kadlec equalised after the break, a second Sánchez goal quickly tipped the tie back in Barça's favour before Lionel Messi found the net late on to give the holders margin for error.
With a little more courage, like we showed in the second half, we would have had more opportunities, and with a touch more luck one would have gone in and it would have been a draw. Then things could still have been possible for the return leg, but like this it's tough," said Schürrle, who saw Gonzalo Castro drill a low shot off a post before Stefan Kiessling sent a close-range header straight at Víctor Valdés. "I don't think we can go all out in Barcelona, though, as they'll simply outplay us and we'll concede even more goals."
While they had their chances, Robin Dutt's men might easily have shipped further goals. After an exhilarating burst between two defenders, Messi chipped the ball over Bernd Leno and onto a post before Leno showed why he is rated as one of the Bundesliga's most promising goalkeepers with a wonderful reaction stop to prevent Sánchez claiming a hat-trick.
"It's not the best position to be in ahead of the return leg and that's a shame," said defender Kadlec, whose powerful headed leveller came just three minutes before Sánchez restored Barça's lead. "We talked things over at the break, that was good.
We got back into the game, but unfortunately conceded again straight away. We were a little bit unlucky because we had two great chances to make it 2-2. But Barcelona are a class side and punished us. Now the situation isn't as good as we had imagined."
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