Bayer 04 Leverkusen "never give up a match as being lost" Josep Guardiola warned as FC Barcelona prepare to defend a 3-1 round of 16 lead at home to the German side.
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FC Barcelona may be in the happy position of leading Bayer 04 Leverkusen 3-1 going into the home leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie but Josep Guardiola warned that the German visitors "look like they're dead and suddenly they hit back". Robin Dutt is vowing to put on a good show for the Leverkusen fans.
Coach Josep Guardiola
Recent we have gone into the second legs of the round of 16 after a draw or a defeat. This season we are in a better position than in previous seasons, so I imagine you won't be asking me many questions about the game tomorrow because people think it's done against Leverkusen. We dominated Leverkusen in the first half but they were very strong in the second half, and very fast. This competition is very tough and to reach the quarter-finals would be great because this tournament is so good.
Leverkusen never give up a match as being lost, never give up. It looks like they’re dead and suddenly they hit back. I hope we have 70% of possession, I really do. What concerns me is their speed. They have their chances of qualifying, of course they do. But Bayer want to be at the top again. We have to control the match and make sure they don't pick up speed.
Saturday: Barcelona 3-1 Real Sporting de Gijón (Iniesta 42, Keita 79, Xavi 87; Barral 49)
Valdés; Alves, Mascherano, Piqué, Adriano; Keita, Iniesta, Xavi, Pedro (Tello 59); Fàbregas (Sánchez 59), Cuenca (Puyol 82).
• Seydou Keita scored on his first outing since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations, where he helped Mali finished third, as Barça stretched their unbeaten run at home to 49 matches. Gerard Piqué was sent off on 46 minutes for a home side shorn of the suspended Lionel Messi. Xavi Hernández has scored a personal best of 12 goals this season in all competitions.
Carles Puyol trained separately on Tuesday due to a groin problem. Éric Abidal (groin) and Alexis Sánchez (torn adductor) are out while Thiago Alcántara is struggling with a right shin problem suffered in training with Spain last week. The game comes too soon for Ibrahim Afellay on his way back from a knee injury, while David Villa (broken leg) and Andreu Fontàs (knee) are long-term absentees.
Coach Robin Dutt
On paper it looks favourable for Barcelona because we should have been more offensive in the first leg. The important thing is to play a good match for the 4,000 Bayer fans travelling here. We can learn things when it comes to attacking, tactics and technique, but defensively we have many advantages over Barcelona, qualities you acquire over the years.
This is the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League so we can't afford to field a reserve team. This is a match for the best players we have. Our preparations and mental state are good; we have a lot to gain and little to lose.
There are lots of things that worry me about facing Barcelona. I have watched hundreds of their games and they always have lots of possession. What can we do with the little time they let us have the ball? It isn't only how we defend but how to handle that 30% possession we have.
I don't think it makes sense to talk about percentage chances of us winning. What we have to do is just focus on playing a good match, whether that be 5% chance or 10%. The situation is very difficult because to turn a match around against Guardiola's men is very hard, but we shall see what happens.
Saturday: Leverkusen 2-0 FC Bayern München (Kiessling 80, Bellarabi 90)
Leno; Schwaab, Friedrich (Derdiyok 46), Ömer, Kadlec; Reinartz, L Bender; Castro, Renato Augusto (Rolfes 89), Schürrle (Bellarabi 83); Kiessling.
• Karim Bellarabi's first goal for the club sealed Leverkusen's first league victory over Bayern in 15 attempts, having lost 11 and drawn three since a 4-1 win in August 2004. It was the club's third successive Bundesliga win since the first-leg loss against Barcelona, their best run this season.
André Schürrle wore a face mask against Bayern having broken his nose as Germany lost 2-1 to France last week. Vedran Ćorluka and Danny da Costa also returned from international duty with knocks (both thigh) but Eren Derdiyok is back in action. Sidney Sam (thigh), Michael Ballack (calf), first-choice goalkeeper René Adler (knee) and Tranquillo Barnetta (knee) are out.
Since beating Maccabi Haifa FC 2-0 in October 2002, Leverkusen have failed to win on the road in the UEFA Champions League, their record reading W0 D3 L9.