Bayer 04 Leverkusen must rewrite the UEFA Champions League record books if they are to overturn a 4-0 deficit away to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday and reach the quarter-finals.
Behind just three minutes into the home first leg and 3-0 down by half-time, Leverkusen then lost Emir Spahić to a second booking before Paris made it four. UEFA.com spoke to Leverkusen trio Lars Bender, Sidney Sam and Ömer Toprak about what went wrong three weeks ago and how they can at least restore pride in the return – though they need "a miracle" to prevail.
Lars Bender, Leverkusen midfielder
There is gap between the teams, but you have to outgrow that and then create a chance in the game. However, to concede after three minutes makes it twice as difficult. Then we conceded a penalty soon after, and then it's incredibly difficult against a team with players like that, who use all their talent and experience.
You actually don't stand a chance in a game like that.
[On Zlatan Ibrahimović's stunning goal to make it 3-0] We have scored and conceded dream goals in the Bundesliga as well. Whoever has a crack is rewarded. The fact it went in is just the way it goes on evenings like that. But it wasn't the key moment in the match.
We have worked hard to play in games like these. They are very special games and you don't get to play as many of these as you get Bundesliga matches, for example. You somehow need to enjoy them. We will travel over there and do our best. We know what a top-class team we will be facing, we already saw that it is not easy. You have to give top performances in any match, but especially in a game like this.
This is the dream of every footballer. Many don't get to play in this competition. We have the chance, having worked hard to get the opportunity to play these games. It's a great platform for everyone, it takes everyone a step further. We have seen many times that the team have developed in the last two or three years.
Sidney Sam, Leverkusen midfielder
The early goal we conceded was certainly bad, especially against a strong opponent like that. After letting in the opener I think we played OK, but then we conceded the penalty. We wanted to perform better in the second half and show what the team can do. We wanted to acquit ourselves well in front of our crowd. But then we got the second yellow card [for Spahić] and were just chasing them after that. By then the match was over.
I think we will give our best and try to do better than the first leg.
Of course it will be difficult to make it, you need a miracle to make it happen. But we still want to perform well and do better than the first match.
Ömer Toprak, Leverkusen defender
Of course it was annoying to concede that goal in the third minute. But it just wasn't our game early on, we weren't aggressive, we weren't strong in the challenge, and if you make as many mistakes as we did in the first half then a team like Paris will punish you. They went 3-0 up and that was that.
It is hard to understand how we could start a last-16 match in the Champions League in such a spiritless way, not strong in the tackle – that is hard for us to understand. But we have to work on it, trying to do things better.
We wanted to show in the second half that we are a good team and that we deservedly made it to the last 16. We wanted to play a part in the match and try to play our game. Of course it was difficult after the red card, but I think the second half was a bit better than the first.
It's now difficult to travel to Paris having lost 4-0. It was difficult enough before the first leg – and the possibility of making it is very, very small. But we want to go to Paris and show we can do better. We have to go out on the pitch in a totally different manner and feeling.
We will have a go, but it will be very tough.
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