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Leverkusen coach Dutt thriving on Barça challenge

"Fun" is how Bayer 04 Leverkusen coach Robin Dutt described the task of preparing to face FC Barcelona and he is hopeful his side will show their mettle against the holders.

Leverkusen coach Dutt thriving on Barça challenge
Leverkusen coach Dutt thriving on Barça challenge ©UEFA.com

Bayer 04 Leverkusen Robin Dutt is trying to see the bright side of having to face the European title holders in the UEFA Champions League round of 16, saying that by watching videos of Tuesday night's opponents his players have at least got to watch "many very, very good football matches". Meanwhile, FC Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola has revealed what a rod for his own back he has created by winning so many trophies of late. "You almost get the feeling that it would constitute failure if we did not win the Champions League now," he told Monday's press conference.

Coach Robin Dutt
Preparing for a match like this is a lot of fun: in the video breakdown of Barcelona you get to see many very, very good football matches. I am looking forward to giving my team some pointers but if we want to make an impact a lot of things will need to come together.

We have shown our strength in the Champions League: we never give up. Even with our backs to the wall we are capable of creating real problems for top sides – we asserted ourselves in a group with Valencia and Chelsea. We believe we can do anything on our day. We have shown this already this term and we will show it again on the pitch tomorrow.

There are different ways to beat Barcelona. You can go totally defensive like Inter successfully tried [in the 2009/10 semi-finals], with ten men behind the ball. Or there is the attacking approach, with a lot of pressing, that Valencia have used to get two draws against them. But in the end most teams lose. No matter what tactics you employ, you have to prepare for Barcelona having 65 to 70% possession and your only chance of success is if you implement them and Barcelona have a bad day.

Saturday: Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Leverkusen (Kagawa 45)
Leno; Ćorluka (Bellarabi 75), Schwaab, Friedrich, Oczipka; Reinartz; Castro, Rolfes (Renato Augusto 61); L Bender; Kiessling, Schürrle

• Leverkusen, with Michal Kadlec suspended, suffered a loss that leaves them with one win in seven outings in all competitions. It was, however, only their second loss in 12 fixtures since their defeat at Valencia CF on 1 November; six of those games ended in draws. Dutt's side have kept only five clean sheets in their last 23 matches in all competitions.

Team news
Dutt is contemplating starting with Renato Augusto as Michael Ballack was ruled out with a calf injury suffered in training on Sunday, joining Sidney Sam (thigh) and Eren Derdiyok (cut foot) on the sidelines. First-choice goalkeeper René Adler and Tranquillo Barnetta are long-term absentees with knee problems.

Coach Josep Guardiola

I am worried about the qualities of Bayer Leverkusen. You can see how good they are by the way they navigated the group stage. They can play a varied game with the ball; they can counterattack and have scored a lot from set pieces. [Stefan] Kiessling is dangerous and they have good people behind the attack, who can take control of the game and cause us problems. The round of 16 is exciting, it's when the Champions League really starts. We saw this back in Stuttgart [in 2009/10], when we drew 1-1. That was a difficult moment.

Setbacks are a part of football. We have to return to the ways that have distinguished us. The past years have shown how difficult it is to defend the Champions League. Milan defended their title, but back then it was not the Champions League. You almost get the feeling that it would constitute failure if we did not win the Champions League now; that we have no choice but to win the Champions League, as if this was the easiest thing to do in the world. The Champions League continues to be difficult, it has always been difficult in the round of 16.

Weekend result
Saturday 11 February: CA Osasuna 3-2 Barcelona (Lekić 4 22, Raúl García 56; Sánchez 51, Tello 73)
Valdés; Alves, Puyol (Cuenca 46), Piqué (Fàbregas 71), Abidal; Thiago Alcántara, Mascherano, Sergi; Sánchez, Messi, Pedro (Tello 45)

• Guardiola's charges' 18-match unbeaten run, 14 of them wins, ended against an Osasuna side they had beaten 8-0 in September. It was Barcelona's second loss in 47 outings and marked the first time in 70 matches that Barcelona have conceded three goals in a game, since a 3-1 Copa del Rey defeat at Real Betis Balompié on 19 January 2011.

Team news
Pedro Rodríguez returned to action at Osasuna after four games out with strained adductors. Sergio Busquets has been out of action with a bruised knee since 4 February but has travelled to Germany and took part in training, while David Villa and Ibrahim Afellay are long-term absentees with knee ligament problems.

Match fact
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.

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