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Leverkusen eager to stand up to Barcelona

"Together with Bayern München, they are probably the best side in the world," said Roger Schmidt, but Leverkusen are not cowering as they welcome Barcelona.

Roger Schmidt and Karim Bellarabi at the Leverkusen press conference
Roger Schmidt and Karim Bellarabi at the Leverkusen press conference ©Getty Images

Possible lineups
Leno; Hilbert, Tah, Toprak, Wendell; Kramer, Kampl; Bellarabi, Mehmedi; Kiessling, Hernández.
Out: Jedvaj (thigh), Bender (ankle)

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Adriano, Bartra, Vermaelen, Alba; Mascherano, Samper, Rakitić; Messi, Munir, Sandro.
Out: Alves (suspended), Douglas (foot), Iniesta (rested), Mathieu (muscular), Neymar (groin), Piqué (rested), Rafinha (knee), Sergi Roberto (ankle)

Roger Schmidt, Leverkusen coach
Barcelona are in great shape. With Messi fit again, they are even stronger – he is the best player in the world after all. There is no way to completely nullify him. Together with Bayern München, they are probably the best side in the world.

We are looking forward to the game and want to compete with them in our own stadium. We have already shown we are capable of putting in special performances in Europe.

Highlights: Barcelona 2-1 Leverkusen

Luis Enrique, Barcelona coach
We don't have to get a result and that could be good or bad for us. I have experienced a lot already, as both coach and player, what pressure can do to a team. Sometimes it gives you wings; sometimes it is too much and you cannot perform.

We have talked about Leverkusen's pressing game, which could give us problems. But we have changed a couple of things since that first match.

Weekend results
Hertha 2-1 Leverkusen (Darida 7, John Brooks 60; Hernández 29)
Javier Hernández made it 11 goals in his last ten outings for the Werkself in all competitions with an equaliser in Berlin, but Leverkusen – who had Sebastian Boenisch sent off in the 17th minute – lost for the third time in their last five Bundesliga games.

Valencia 1-1 Barcelona (Santi Mina 86; Suárez 59)
Luis Suárez took his tally to 13 in 13 Liga matches for Barcelona this season, yet it was not quite enough as a late goal ended his side's seven-game winning streak in all competitions. Barcelona's lead at the top of the table is down to two points.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Leverkusen: LDDWLL

Reporter's view: Matthew Howath (@UEFAcomMattH)
Leverkusen require a victory to stand any chance of making the knockout stage of the competition, but whether they can keep out Barcelona's fearsome attack is another matter. Die Werkself's only clean sheet in their last ten competitive outings came against fourth-tier Viktoria Köln in the German Cup.

Did you know?
Leverkusen have not won in Europe since matchday one; find out more in our extensive match background.

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