Hyypiä urges Leverkusen to show mettle
Monday, 17 February 2014
Sami Hyypiä wants his Bayer 04 Leverkusen players to give "100% in every department" in Tuesday's last-16 opener against a Paris Saint-Germain side full of quality.
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Coach Sami Hyypiä wants Bayer 04 Leverkusen to give "100% in every department" in Tuesday's UEFA Champions League round of 16 opener against a Paris Saint-Germain side in fine fettle.
By contrast, Leverkusen have lost five of their last seven league and cup matches, but the message from Hyypiä was clear: underestimate the Bundesliga outfit at your peril. The 40-year-old also stressed the importance of nullifying Paris hot shot Zlatan Ibrahimović, who struck eight times in the group stage. As for Laurent Blanc, he urged the visitors to "dominate" proceedings by taking care in possession.
Sami Hyypiä, Leverkusen coach
Paris have spent a lot of money in recent years and built a very good team. They have a lot of individual quality and we'll have to be at our absolute best to get a good result. We have to give 100% in every department.
Paris have one or two top international players in every position, so we cannot just focus on one or two players. It will be important to neutralise Zlatan Ibrahimović, so that he is not able to get into scoring positions. He is a very good player – maybe one of the very best right now. He can score a goal without having much of a chance. As a defender you can defend perfectly for the whole match, but he can still score in a second if you're not on top of him. However, we won't prepare for this game any differently.
If we play like we did against Schalke on Saturday, we can cause Paris problems. If Paris underestimate us because of recent results, that would be good for us, but I can't influence that. We have to focus on our own game. It is very important that our fans get behind us no matter what.
Saturday: Leverkusen 1-2 FC Schalke 04 (Santana og 66; Goretzka 28, Huntelaar 74)
Leno; Hilbert, Wollscheid, Spahić (Toprak 59), Boenisch; Rolfes, Bender (Hegeler 87), Can, Castro, Son (Brandt 82); Kiessling.
• Second-placed Leverkusen slipped 16 points behind Bundesliga leaders FC Bayern München following their fifth defeat in seven games in all competitions since the end of the group stage. Julian Brandt, a 17-year-old striker, made his debut as a late substitute.
Sidney Sam sat out the match against Schalke, the club he will join in the summer, but is back in contention for the Paris game. Stefan Reinartz has missed the last three fixtures with a heel problem but is also in line for a return.
Laurent Blanc, Paris coach
Like every German team, Leverkusen are very athletic. We have to be on our toes from ever free-kick and corner because they can be very dangerous from set pieces. We will try and dominate the match by taking care of the ball. It's the same pressure that accompanies any other game – everyone expects us to win.
Leverkusen will focus on Ibrahimović but we have lots of players capable of scoring. You can feel a Champions League atmosphere among the team. They are looking forward to a match in a wonderful stadium with an excellent pitch. They know how important this game is.
Leverkusen are very dangerous on the counter. Perhaps they will allow us to have more of the ball and wait to hit us on the break. So every time we lose possession, we have to work very hard to get it back.
Friday: Paris 3-0 Valenciennes FC (Lavezzi 18, Ibrahimović 50, Kagelmacher og 52)
Sirigu; Van der Wiel, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Digne; Cabaye, Thiago Motta (Rabiot 65), Pastore; Ménez, Ibrahimović (Lucas 64), Lavezzi (Verratti 75).
• Ibrahimović took his tally to 33 goals in his last 27 appearances for club and country as Paris consolidated their five-point cushion over second-placed AS Monaco FC in Ligue 1.
Edinson Cavani has been out since sustaining a thigh injury against FC Girondins de Bordeaux on 31 January.
• Hyypiä and Blanc met as players when the former's Finland lost 1-0 to France in a June 1998 friendly in Helsinki. Hyppiä came out on top four years later, though, Liverpool FC winning 1-0 at Blanc's Manchester United FC in the only Premier League fixture they contested.