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Bayer 04 Leverkusen could not face a more formidable threat to their hopes of reaching their first UEFA Champions League quarter-final in a decade as they welcome FC Barcelona for their round of 16 first-leg tie.
• The fact that Josep Guardiola's holders have averaged four goals a game on their travels underlines the size of the task for Robin Dutt's men, who finished ahead of another Spanish side, Valencia CF, in the group stage.
• Leverkusen had never faced Spanish opponents before taking on Barcelona in the quarter-finals of their triumphant 1987/88 UEFA Cup campaign. Milton Tita scored the tie's only goal past Andoni Zubizarreta, now Barcelona's sporting director, in the second leg at the Camp Nou and Erich Ribbeck's side went on to beat RCD Espanyol in the final.
• The teams traded 2-1 home wins when they met again in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League first group stage, with Michael Ballack lining up against Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernández.
• Barcelona won 2-1 in Leverkusen and 2-0 at home in the following season's second group stage. Puyol, Xavi and Andrés Iniesta featured for the Blaugrana.
• Group E runners-up Leverkusen are bidding to reach the last eight for the first time since 2001/02, when they advanced to the final before losing to Real Madrid CF.
• Leverkusen posted three straight home wins in the group stage, including a 2-1 success against Valencia, but have reason to be wary of Spanish opposition. In last season's UEFA Europa League they won four of six home games, but the two exceptions were against Club Atlético de Madrid (1-1) in the group stage and Villarreal CF (2-3), their nemesis in the last 16.
• Leverkusen's overall home record against Spanish opposition is W5 D3 L4.
• Group H winners Barcelona scored 12 goals in their three away games in that section and have lost just one of their last nine European fixtures on their travels.
• Barcelona's last seven trips to Germany have yielded four wins and three draws, their last loss that 2001 reverse in Leverkusen. Their most recent visit was in the 2009/10 round of 16 when they drew 1-1 with VfB Stuttgart en route to a 5-1 aggregate success. Their overall away record against German teams is W8 D10 L5.
• Barcelona beat Fortuna Düsseldorf to win the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1979.
• Guardiola's first four appearances in Europe's premier club competition as a player came against FC Hansa Rostock and 1. FC Kaiserslautern in autumn 1991. Barcelona, that season's eventual winners, won both home legs but lost both away.
• Ballack was in the Chelsea FC side denied a UEFA Champions League final place in the 2008/09 semi-finals by Iniesta's added-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw in London that earned Barcelona an away-goals victory. Ballack had helped Chelsea finish above Barcelona in the 2006/07 group stage with a 1-0 home win and 2-2 away draw.
• In the UEFA EURO 2008 final Ballack's Germany lost 1-0 to the Spain of Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta and Cesc Fàbregas. Puyol's header earned Spain another 1-0 win against Germany in the 2010 FIFA World Cup semi-finals.
• Eren Derdiyok and Tranquillo Barnetta helped Switzerland shock Spain 1-0 in their opening match in South Africa. Besides Puyol, Xavi and Iniesta, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, David Villa and Pedro Rodríguez were also in Spain's side.
• Derdiyok and Barnetta were brought down to earth by Alexis Sánchez's Chile in their next match, succumbing 1-0.
• Michal Kadlec was in the Czech Republic team beaten in a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier in March 2011 by the two Villa goals with which the Barcelona striker became Spain's record scorer.
• Daniel Alves and Adriano were part of the Sevilla FC side that beat Manuel Friedrich's 1. FSV Mainz 05 2-0 on aggregate in the first round of the 2005/06 UEFA Cup.
• Alves and Renato Augusto are Brazil team-mates. They lined up together in a 3-2 friendly loss to Germany in August 2011, with Leverkusen's André Schürrle and Simon Rolfes featuring as substitutes for Germany and the former scoring.
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