Bayer 04 Leverkusen may already be through to the round of 16, but coach Robin Dutt has called on his players to show the mental strength needed to beat KRC Genk and top Group E.
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Bayer 04 Leverkusen may already be through to the UEFA Champions League round of 16, and KRC Genk out of European competition altogether, but neither coach is taking Tuesday's encounter lightly. While Genk's Mario Been is keen to banish the memories of the 7-0 loss to Valencia CF on matchday six and stay unbeaten at home in Group E, Robin Dutt is urging his team to snap up the chance of topping their section.
Coach Mario Been
I used the 7-0 loss that we suffered in Valencia to motivate the players to do better against Bayer. We will not go out of the Champions League with shame hanging over us. Our home games in this Champions League have been better than the away ones because we have a dream crowd.
Our fans are the 12th man on the pitch and they have a big influence on us. We are obliged to finish with a good result for our fans because they are the best fans you could have. We will continue to show that we are a different team when we play in our own stadium.
There are differences when Jeroen Simaeys plays because he has leadership capacity and he can tell the other players what to do during the game and he will do that tomorrow. Against Bayer, Anthony Limbombe will take the place of [Kevin] De Bruyne.
Friday: K. Beerschot AC 2-0 Genk (MacDonald 21 45+1)
Köteles; Vanden Borre, Ngongca, Nadson, Pudil; Buffel (Ndabashinze 64), Camus (Benteke 81), Tőzsér, De Bruyne (Limbombe 46); Nwanganga, Barda
• Genk suffered their third successive defeat – all away – a run that has seen them concede 11 goals and score none. Genk are four matches unbeaten at home, though.
De Bruyne is unavailable because of a broken toe suffered on Friday. Abel Masuero has been out since picking up a calf muscle injury in late October, with David Hubert (stomach) and Khaleem Hyland (sprained ankles) also out. However, as Been said, Simaeys is fit after a broken toe while Jelle Vossen is recovering from an illness that kept him out on Friday.
Coach Robin Dutt
Chelsea and Valencia could not win in Genk. We will try to become the first team in this group to do so. We have been training two or three times specifically for this game – tomorrow we have to be very focused to achieve a good result.
If we finish the group in first position, with Valencia and Chelsea behind us, it will be a great result. Many players are having their first experience in the Champions League. We have done well so far and we want to keep up the good impression that we have already made and possibly win this group.
Tomorrow we would like to prevail early in the game but we must stay concentrated for 90 minutes. We are mentally strong and tomorrow we will achieve a good result.
Friday: Leverkusen 2-0 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (Derdiyok 10, Sam 79)
Leno; Castro, Schwaab, Friedrich, Kadlec; Bender, Ballack (Reinartz 73); Sam (Oczipka 85), Schürrle; Kiessling, Derdiyok (Rolfes 68)
• Eren Derdiyok's fifth goal in three games set Dutt's side on course for a victory that extended their unbeaten run to five matches – a season high. Leverkusen kept only their fourth clean sheets in 16 matches in all competitions.
Ömer Toprak is out with a back injury, while Karim Bellarabi and Hanno Balitsch have been sidelined with thigh injuries. Renato Augusto, René Adler and Tranquillo Barnetta are absent with knee problems. Bastian Oczipka (ankle) and Michael Ortega (knee) are available again.
Been scored the second goal for Feyenoord in a 2-2 draw with Leverkusen in a 1987/88 UEFA Cup third round tie. Feyenoord lost the away leg 1-0 against a team who went on to win that season's competition.