Home » Champ League, Latest » CL Match Preview: Barcelona vs Leverkusen

Reigning champions Barcelona will be looking to move a step closer to the successful defence of their crown on Wednesday when they face Bayer Leverkusen.

A place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League will be up for grabs at Camp Nou in midweek, with the next knockout stage leaving room for just eight teams.

Barca are strong favourites to book their safe progression, with a 3-1 first leg lead having been established in their last 16 showdown with Leverkusen.

Pep Guardiola’s side have been in imperious form in Europe this season and have now found the target in their last 28 continental outings.

They are unbeaten in their last 13 Champions League fixtures, winning 11 of those matches, and have not been dumped out of the competition at the last 16 stage since coming unstuck against Liverpool in 2006/07.

Barca have also come out on top in their last four meetings with Leverkusen and in Lionel Messi boast a goal-scoring machine that has netted 28 times in its last 29 outings in the Champions League – with that run stretching back to the 2009 final.

Leverkusen know they have it all to do if they are to prolong their European adventure, but will head to Catalunya in midweek looking to pull off a shock.

Only two teams (Ajax and Inter Milan) have reached the next round of the competition after losing the first leg of a knockout contest at home, so the odds are stacked against Bayer.

The Bundesliga outfit have also struggled on the road in recent times and have been far from watertight at the back.

They are without a win in their last 11 Champions League away games, losing eight of those matches, and have kept only six clean sheets in their last 43 outings.

Carles Puyol is a major doubt for Barcelona after picking up a groin complaint.

Eric Abidal is suffering with a similar ailment, while Alexis Sanchez is still nursing an adductor tear.

Thiago Alcantara is struggling with a shin problem and the game comes too soon for Ibrahim Afellay, as he is yet to shake off a knee injury.

David Villa (broken leg) and Andreu Fontas (knee) are long-term absentees.

Andre Schurrle is expected to figure for Bayer Leverkusen despite suffering a broken nose in Germany’s 2-1 defeat to France last week, with the highly-rated forward having donned a face mask in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich.

Vedran Corluka and Danny da Costa are also nursing knocks picked up on international duty, but Eren Derdiyok is back in contention.

Sidney Sam (thigh), Michael Ballack (calf), Rene Adler (knee) and Tranquillo Barnetta (knee) are all out.

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