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Champions League: Barcelona vs Bayer Leverkusen preview

Kick off: Tuesday, 29.09.2015. @20:45

Venue: Camp Nou

Head to head record

Barcelona vs Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 (Champions League)
Bayer Leverkusen vs Barcelona 1-3 (Champions League)

Barcelona vs Bayer Leverkusen prediction

Following the 1-1 draw with AS Roma at Stadio Olimpico, Barcelona head into the Bayer Leverkusen searching for the first win of the campaign, with Argentine superstar Leo Messi unavailable. Die Werkself will attempt to get revenge on the Catalans for the 7-1 hammering at the same venue some three and a half years ago.

Who will replace Messi?

The Catalans have been quite inconsistent for their standards this season, having already suffered two heavy defeats, while also recording some unconvincing wins. The 4-0 Super Cup loss to Athletic and 4-1 defeat at the hands of Celta Vigo last weekend have gone to prove that Barcelona have major problems at the back, with Gerard Pique especially going through a rough patch and Marc-Andre ter Stegen struggling to prove a worthy replacement for Claudio Bravo. Meanwhile, the Catalans remain a force to be reckoned with up front and should continue to be very dangerous in attack even now that their best player Leo Messi is on the sidelines, with youngsters Munir El Haddadi and Sandro Ramirez both eager to impress. The narrow win over Las Palmas was not exactly a perfect response to the heavy loss at Balaidos and with his team having shared spoils with AS Roma in the opening Champions League fixture, Luis Enrique will demand a much better performance against Bayer Leverkusen, with the hosts widely expected to attack from the off.

Dani Alves has recovered from injury, while Andres Iniesta and Jeremy Mathieu should be recalled. Jordi Alba faces a fitness test, whereas Claudio Bravo, Rafinha Alcantara and Thomas Vermaelen are definitely out.

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Leverkusen showing improvement

Just like their next opponents, Bayer Leverkusen have had their share of ups and downs in the early exchanges, with the good start to the season followed by three disappointing defeats in the league that saw the team concede a total of seven goals. Die Werkself did manage to finally show some improvement, first hammering BATE Borisov 4-1 in their opening Champions League game, before wins over Mainz and Werder Bremen hinted the crisis is now in the past. Given that Leverkusen boasts three Under-23 players in their back line, nobody is surprised by the poor defensive record this term and no doubts the likes of Tah, Papadopoulos and Wendell will be under a lot of pressure at the Camp Nou. The good news is that the attacking department has been looking good of late, with summer recruits Javier Hernandez, Admir Mehmedi and Kevin Kampl proving a big help to the likes of Kiessling, Calhanoglu and Bellarabi. And with Bayer Leverkusen scoring in both matches against Barcelona in the 2012/2013 campaign, we certainly expect the trend to continue on Tuesday evening.

Starting defenders Omer Toprak and Tin Jedvaj remain on the sidelines, whereas Robert Hilbert is rated doubtful through a knee problem.

Barcelona vs Bayer Leverkusen betting tip

While there are no doubts that Leo Messi will be sorely missed, Barcelona should have enough quality up front to hurt the inexperienced Bayer Leverkusen back line. Die Werkself, on the other hand, should have no problems scoring at least once past Pique and co, who have been utterly disappointing of late.

Tip: Both teams to score

Odds: 1.91 (10/11) @10Bet

[fixture match_id=”4120061752949198273497853″ type=”odds”]

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