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Heynckes backs Leverkusen to pass Villarreal test

Published: Wednesday 9 March 2011, 21.48CET
Jupp Heynckes says now is time for Bayer 04 Leverkusen to "show we can hold our nerve against the best in Europe" as Villarreal CF come calling in the UEFA Europa League round of 16.
by Tim Vollmer
from Leverkusen
Heynckes backs Leverkusen to pass Villarreal test
Jupp Heynckes is enjoying having high-class guests at the BayArena ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

LeverkusenVillarreal

Goals scored17
 
27
Attempts on target55
 
97
Attempts off target60
 
50
Corners53
 
67
Offsides26
 
28
Fouls committed128
 
153
Yellow cards16
 
33
Red cards0
1

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Standings

 
Published: Wednesday 9 March 2011, 21.48CET

Heynckes backs Leverkusen to pass Villarreal test

Jupp Heynckes says now is time for Bayer 04 Leverkusen to "show we can hold our nerve against the best in Europe" as Villarreal CF come calling in the UEFA Europa League round of 16.

Jupp Heynckes said "now it really begins in earnest" as he looked forward to Bayer 04 Leverkusen's UEFA Europa League round of 16 opener against Villarreal CF.

I'm in the same camp as Pep Guardiola, who said that on their day Villarreal are one of the best teams in Europe
Jupp Heynckes
Last weekend's defeat at the Vicente Calderón left a bad taste in our mouths after but we are eager to put that behind us
Santi Cazorla

With his side second in the Bundesliga after Saturday's 3-0 home win against VfL Wolfsburg, Heynckes is itching to prove that Leverkusen can cut it against the very best. "From now on we will only be up against teams who are at our level," he said. "We are really looking forward to these challenges at the highest level. We want to show we can hold our nerve against the best teams in Europe."

The former CD Tenerife, Athletic Club and Real Madrid CF coach certainly ranks Villarreal among that elite. "I've studied them since the draw and they are a very good team," he added. "I'm in the same camp as Pep Guardiola, who said that on their day Villarreal are one of the best teams in Europe."

Without Manuel Friedrich (shoulder), Tranquillo Barnetta (gastroenteritis) and Michael Ballack (unfit), Leverkusen still feel confident, with striker Eren Derdiyok explaining: "They have a lot of high-quality players, but I think we have a good chance as long as we're completely on our game."

"I'm confident that we can get through this round," concurred Heynckes. "We've been playing very good football in recent weeks, with great spirit. That makes me very confident." However, he added a note of caution, highlighting Villarreal's "collective spirit and their consistency". "That's what we have to be careful about," he said.

Villarreal midfielder Santi Cazorla is looking for a response after he and his team-mates succumbed 3-1 at Club Atlético de Madrid on Saturday. "We're going into the game on the back of a negative run of results and we hope to reverse that as soon as possible," he said of a sequence which has brought two wins in eight matches.

"If we are at our best we can beat anyone," added Cazorla. "Last weekend's defeat at the Vicente Calderón left a bad taste in our mouths after but we are eager to put that behind us and get a good result in Europe."

Villarreal are without Ángel López (knee), Marcos Senna (hamstring), Cicinho (muscular problems) and the suspended Joan Capdevila. Cani should play what would be his 200th appearance for the Liga outfit.

Last updated: 10/03/11 11.33CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2011/matches/round=2000130/match=2003804/prematch/preview/index.html#heynckes+eyes+home+straight

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