Barca vs Leverkusen
Venue: Camp Nou
Kick off: 7:45pm
Barcelona welcome travelling Bayer Leverkusen to the Camp Nou in Group E of the Champions League on Tuesday (today) with Luis Enrique hoping to lead his side to their first win after opening match day one with a draw.
Roger Schmidt’s men, meanwhile, come into the game off the back of a comfortable opening win against BATE Borisov and will be seeking to cause a shock away from home.
Enrique’s men come into their first home clash of the tournament off the back of a hard-fought draw away at Roma, which saw Alessandro Florenzi score a memorable strike to cancel out an opener from Luis Suarez.
The Catalan club will be pleased with the point away from home, but will know that nothing more than three points will do when they host Leverkusen on Tuesday night.
The current champions come into the game having beaten Las Palmas 2 -1 over the weekend, although they will now be without key frontman, Lionel Messi, who could miss the next two months after tearing a ligament in his left knee.
Despite Messi’s absence, Barca have plenty of other talents to call on and the Argentine’s fellow forwards, Suarez and Neymar, have already proven capable of playing their part in pushing Enrique’s side to five wins from six games so far this season.
As well as some impressive league form to look back on, Barcelona also hold a standout record against Bayer.
Over their past five fixtures in the Champions League, the Catalonian club have won all five games, while scoring 16 goals in the process.
Leverkusen travel to Spain having opened their Champions League campaign with a comfortable 4-1 win over BATE Borisov.
The German club were able to hold off any pressure of expectation in that game in order to pick up three points that could prove vital come the end of the group stage.
With fixtures against Barcelona and Roma also in the offing, Schmidt will be fully aware of the importance of picking up the easier points in the group.
Regardless of the news of Messi’s injury, the German club will have to deal with a number of threats from the home side on Tuesday, but will be looking to do what they can to steal something from the clash by using their confidence gained from back-to-back wins in the Bundesliga.
Schmidt’s charges had found themselves on the end of three consecutive defeats until recently, with Leverkusen managing to turn themselves around in order to defeat both Werder Bremen and Mainz 05 in their last two domestic games.
Bayer currently find themselves in fifth position in the Bundesliga table and they will be looking to continue to build on some positive defensive performances that have left them conceding just over one goal per game – representing the fifth best defence on record in the league so far this season.
Barcelona possible starting lineup: Stegen; Adriano, Mascherano, Pique, Alves; Iniesta, Busquets, Rakitic; Neymar, Suarez, Haddadi.
Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup: Leno; Wendell, Papadopoulos, Tah, Donati; Kramer, Bender; Kampl, Calhanoglu, Bellarabi; Kiessling.