Champions League: Barcelona stand in Leverkusen′s path, Bayern are in Zagreb | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 08.12.2015
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Champions League: Barcelona stand in Leverkusen's path, Bayern are in Zagreb

Out-of-form Bayer Leverkusen must beat Barcelona to stand a chance of qualifying for the Last 16. Bayern Munich are already through, but Guardiola still expects 100 per cent against Dinamo Zagreb.

If Bayer Leverkusen want to reach the Last 16 for the third year running, they will need to overcome the challenge of beating European champions Barcelona. Even Bayer Leverkusen defender Omer Toprak admitted his side's chances were slim at home, but the late news on Tuesday that Neymar suffered a groin injury in training will give the Germans a glimmer of hope.

With Andres Iniesta, Dani Alves and Gerard Pique missing, and suggestions that Lionel Messi will play only a bit-part role, Leverkusen's chances of qualification could be fair on the night. But Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique looked to refute claims that the Spanish side would consider resting players with top-spot guaranteed.

"Tomorrow is a good day to tell my players who will play before the media, that's always my system," Enrique said. "The squad is what it is. I'm not just giving away minutes for free, only if I think a player can give us something. You know I don't make my selection public. I always speak with my players before the press but I take all these things into consideration - games they've played, games they've rested and travelling."

Leverkusen have won one of their last seven games, but have carried enough threat to cause problems in the Champions League. The German side led for an hour at the Camp Nou on matchday two with an impressive performance, but Sergi Roberto and Luis Suarez turned the game around inside 60 seconds to give the hosts the win.

"We know it's going to be difficult,” said Schmidt. "Barca always wants to win and I expect them to field their best players. But if we work together, then we have a chance to win too."

The dynamics are finely balanced: if Leverkusen fail to win, but BATE Borisov beat Roma, then the Belarusians would qualify for the first time. "We believe in our chances, we can win this," said talisman Aleksandr Hleb.

Guardiola: "I expect the best"

Fußball Bundesliga 10. Spieltag Bayern München - 1. FC Köln

Guardiola wants his side to give their all despite the game being a dead rubber

Bayern Munich will be without Manuel Neuer for the trip to Dinamo Zagreb with qualification for the Last 16 stage already secured. The German champions have won four of five matches so far and will look to avoid their second away loss of this year's competition.

Arjen Robben, David Alaba, Douglas Costa, Mario Götze and Juan Bernat are also missing, but midfielder Thiago Alcantara is part of the squad. Speaking to the media in Zagreb, the Bayern head coach expects no let up following his side's 3-1 defeat at Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday.

"This is the Champions League, not a friendly game," said Guardiola. "I expect the best from my players. If I see tomorrow that one of my players isn't concentrating then we will have a problem."

Guardiola didn't rule out game time for USA youngster Julian Green, Fabian Benko and Niklas Dorsch, but confirmed that Franck Ribery will play some part. "I don't know yet whether he's on from the start or fielded in the second half," he added.

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