UEFA Champions League

February 14, 2012


Bayer Leverkusen

1 - 3


UEFA Champions League

19:45 +00:00, February 14, 2012

BayArena, Germany

Referee: Craig Thomson


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    The hosts certainly had their chances after adopting a more attacking stance in the second half, but ultimately paid the price.


    It's all over, and Leverkusen would need to score three times at the Camp Nou to have any chance of progressing.

  • 94'


  • 94'

    Leverkusen have a free-kick, but Castro's long, looped effort is headed wide.

  • 92'

    Alves flicks the ball over the defence for Messi, but the offside flag is up.

  • 92'

    Leverkusen looked to have worked themselves into some space in the area, but Kiessling was offside.

  • 91'

    Da Costa now comes on for Corluka. Leverkusen are wasting a bit of time here with these changes.

  • 90'

    Three minutes of added time.

  • 89'

    Schurrle comes off to be replaced by Bellarabi.

  • 89'

    That's six goals in six games for Messi in this competition.

  • 88'

    Messi rounds off the scoring. He played in Alves superbly, and the Brazilian unselfishly plays it back across the face for the Argentinean to turn home on the slide.

  • 88'


  • 87'

    Thiago gets a booking for a foul on Freidrich.

  • 85'

    Alexis comes off after a superb, and probably match-winning, performance to be replaced by Cuenca.

  • 85'

    Sanchez looks for Messi in the area, but the pass is cut out.

  • 84'

    Sanchez aims a bullet header at goal and Leno makes a stunning save!

  • 83'

    Pedro makes a run into the area, and his attempt to square it is knocked behind for a corner.

  • 82'

    Kiessling is penalised for another shoulder charge. It was 50/50 and Mascherano lost it. Didn't look a free-kick.

  • 82'

    Messi casually threads a ball behind the defence, but it's straight through to Leno.

  • 81'

    Messi bursts through into the area and gets a shot away, but he's just a little too far left and the angle makes it tricky.

  • 79'

    Busquets hurts himself as he tries a shoulder barge. Castro, remarkably, gets booked for being on the end of Busquets' challenge.

  • 79'

    Leno is able to push the ball out of the danger area as the corner comes in.

  • 79'

    Barca counter and win a corner.

  • 78'

    Castro floats a cross in for Kiessling, who dives and forces Valdes into a save at close quarters.

  • 77'

    Kiessling comes on for Rolfes - an attacking change for the hosts and a signal of intent.

  • 76'

    Messi chips through to Alves in the area, but Kadlec intercepts and pokes it behind.

  • 75'

    Messi finds Pedro in space on the edge of the area, but the Spaniard's touch is poor and Leverkusen clear.

  • 75'

    The Leverkusen fightback seems to be going through a bit of a lull.

  • 73'

    Alves attempts a rerun of the Messi magic but can't beat two defenders and loses possession.

  • 72'

    Magical stuff from Messi! He dances past two defenders before dinking a chip over Leno and onto the post.

  • 72'

    Leno is forced to come out and deal with a throughball as Thiago threatens to follow Alexis' lead in running clean through.

  • 71'

    Leverkusen are now up to 26% posession. They're really, er, taking it to Barca.

  • 70'

    Fabregas sends in the corner, but it's too high for Puyol.

  • 69'

    Adriano has picked up a knock and is replaced by Pedro.

  • 68'

    Thiago curls a pass through to Alexis and, though it's overhit, the Chilean has the pace to keep it in play. Messi gets a shot away but it's deflected for a corner.

  • 68'

    Kadlec crosses deep, but Barca deal with it.

  • 67'

    Alves comes in to make the clearance from Reinartz.

  • 67'

    It's end to end at the moment, with Leverkusen now on the attack.

  • 66'

    Fabregas looks to make something happen, getting a couple of bits of the cherry before squaring. Leno claims.

  • 65'

    Reinartz puts the ball into the centre, but Valdez is able to claim. Leverkusen are making a fight of it anyway.

  • 64'

    Leverkusen hit the post! Valdes tips a shot from Castro onto the woodwork!

  • 63'

    Abidal looks to play a square ball across the area, but it's cut out.

  • 61'

    Benders is out in space on the right, but Castro misplaces the pass, to the derision of the crowd. Still, Leverkusen are trying to make things happen, which is nice.

  • 60'

    Thiago comes on to replace Iniesta.

  • 59'

    After a pretty dismal first half, we've actually had some cracking entertainment in the second.

  • 58'

    Busquets finds Messi and, although Schwaab seems to have dealt with it, Messi refuses to give it up and pressures Leno into conceding a throw-in.

  • 56'

    The ball breaks to Renato Augusto in the area, but his shot lacks power and Valdes is able to deal with it. Cracking chance to equalise.

  • 55'

    That didn't take long. Alexis scores once more, picking up a pass before dancing around Leno and firing home.

  • 55'


  • 54'

    Alves tries the spectacular and fails spectacularly. Instead of crossing, he attempts to blast into the net but finds only row Z.

  • 53'

    Corluka gets a booking for brinding down Adriano as he races down the left of the area. Free-kick.

  • 52'

    With their first real attack, Leverkusen are level. Corluka does brilliantly to make just enough space to float the ball to the far post, and Kadlec rises to head home.

  • 52'


  • 51'

    Puyol floats a ball over the top for Alexis, but it has a little too much pace on it and Leno gathers.

  • 50'

    Reinartz stabs a ball towards the Barca defence, but it's a bitaimless and easily dealt with.

  • 49'

    Fabregas puts it in but fails to clear the first man as Friedrich is there to head away.

  • 49'

    At the other end, Friedrich puts the ball out for a Barcelona corner.

  • 48'

    Castro puts it into the box and Puyol gets a touch, putting it just beyond the control of Friedrich, who can only knock it out of play.

  • 47'

    Leverkusen have a free-kick and the chance to whip the ball into the danger area.

  • 46'

    Leverkusen get the second half underway


    Barca celebrate after taking the lead through Alexis Sanchez


    Here's hoping Leverkusen show a bit more ambition in the second half, but they would clearly run the risk of being slaughtered.


    It's hard to see where a Leverkusen goal is going to come from as they inevitably tire in the second half, and they've been unable to win the set-pieces they would seemingly require to use their aerial advantage.


    Leverkusen defended manfully throughout that first half, but Barca eventually made their ludicrous possession pay courtesy of a fine pass from Lionel Messi and a tidy finish from Alexis Sanchez.

  • 45'


  • 45'

    Messi attempts to waltz his way through the defence but eventually comes a cropper as Corluka gets a foot in.

  • 45'

    Alexis controls the ball neatly in the area, but Barca are unable to break through the Leverkusen wall.

  • 45'

    One minute of time to be added.

  • 43'

    ...and we're back to where we were, with Barca kncoking the ball around before Leverkusen hoof it upfield...

  • 42'

    Perhaps that goal will give this game the kick-start it sorely needed.

  • 41'

    Alexis Sanchez latches on to a superb ball from Messi with the outside of the boot, taking a touch before sliding the ball into the net.

  • 41'


  • 40'

    Messi takes it and swings it into the centre, but Leverkusen defend well once more before winning a soft free-kick.

  • 39'

    Schurrle quite foolishly knocks over Adriano at the corner of the area, and Barca have a free-kick.

  • 38'

    Messi controls neatly and gets the better of Schwaab, but he's off balance as he tamely prods the ball towards Leno from the left of the goal.

  • 37'

    Bender plays a searching pass from Schurrle. Valdes comes out to deal with and sort of does, allowing Barca to break.

  • 36'

    Valdes comes out to claim a cross, which now makes him an active participant in this football match. Good stuff.

  • 35'

    Barca work the ball to Fabregas wide on the left, and he hits an inswinger towards Alexis, but the Chilean is offside as he heads wide. That was almost a moment of interest, but never mind.

  • 34'

    Messi looks to wriggle clear on the edge of the Leverkusen area, but the ball is hoofed clear.

  • 33'

    Bender plays the ball into the area and finds Augusto, whose pass is cleared, but that was the best piece of attacking play yet from the hosts.

  • 32'

    Alexis produces a neat bit of skill before sliding the ball between the centre-backs, but there's no one to take advantage.

  • 30'

    Leverkusen are completely unable to produce anything in attack. They've defended well, to be fair, but it's not making for great entertainment.

  • 28'

    Alexis loses out to Bender, and Fabregas comes over to foul the Leverkusen man.

  • 27'

    Busquets puts the ball straight out of play. It says a lot that Barca are misplacing such an abnormally high number of passes and yet they've had almost 80% possession.

  • 26'

    Iniesta tries to burst clear of Bender but his pass is straight out of play for a goal kick.

  • 25'

    Barca break away after winning a free-kick in front of their own area, and Adriano takes a shot at goal - a rare sight tonight - but curls it clear of the bar.

  • 23'

    Barca have had 78% possession, but haven't really done anything with it.

  • 20'

    Oh dear. Castro's free-kick is floated towards no-one and goes out for a goal kick. They'll need to improve on that, frankly.

  • 19'

    Macherano concedes a free-kick and Castro steps up to take it.

  • 18'

    Another moves breaks down as the ball comes to Iniesta and he loses it. It's not vintage stuff so far.

  • 17'

    Barca are in complete control, but they haven't shown their cutting edge just yet.

  • 15'

    Bayer produce a bit of spark, but the move founders on the right flank when it comes to loanee Corluka, whose poor control is overshadowed by an even worse pass.

  • 15'

    Bayer produce a bit of spark, but the move founders on the right flank when it comes to loanee Corluka, whose poor control is overshadowed by an even worse pass.

  • 15'

    Busquets plays a superb eye-of-the-needle pass through to Fabregas, whose cutback for Messi isn't of the same calibre and is easily enough dealt with.

  • 13'

    Fabregas sends the corner in but Leverkusen are able to force Barca away from goal, even if they retain possession.

  • 13'

    Schwaab makes an excellent interception as Alexis squared for Messi, who would surely have opened the scoring. Corner kick.

  • 12'

    Alves takes the shot and, while it's not a million miles away, it was never troubling Leno.

  • 11'

    Castro concedes a free-kick with a foul on Messi. It's probably not quite shooting distance, so let's see what they have planned.

  • 10'

    Reinartz makes a good challenge on Fabregas as the latter looked to make headway down the right flank.

  • 9'

    Messi surprisingly squares it to Alves, who chips the ball back towards Messi, but the move doesn't come off. Leverkusen do have the height advantage, so perhaps quirky set-pieces will be the order of the day.

  • 8'

    Abidal picks himself up and Barca have the chance to swing a free-kick from out on the left. Messi to take it.

  • 7'

    Daniel Schwaab picks up a booking for a fierce challenge on Eric Abidal.

  • 6'

    Leverkusen win a throw-in through forward Renato Augusto, but swiftly give away possession.

  • 5'

    Slightly loose passing from Barca in the last few moments. You don't see that so often.

  • 4'

    Another chipped pass into the area, this time looking for Iniesta, is cleared.

  • 3'

    Fabregas plays a searching ball for Alexis, but it's too long.

  • 3'

    Fabregas is penalised for a handball on the edge of the Leverkusen area, and the Germans finally get the chance to have some possession.

  • 2'

    Barca win a throw-in in the Laverkusen half. The hosts haven't had a sniff yet.

  • 1'

    Barca are knocking the ball around tidily in the opening minute.

  • 1'



    Pique is apparently left out for "tactical reasons". Macherano slots in at centre-back, and he's not on the bench, so perhaps his recent car crash has more to do with it.


    We're about to get underway.


    There's a lively atmosphere at the BayArena as the teams line up for the Champions League theme song.



    Lionel Messi and Adriano will play in attack alongside Alexis Sanchez


    Gerard Pique is not included in the Barca squad, but Sergio Busquets is passed fit to start while Andres Iniesta returns to the first XI after being named on the bench for Saturday's defeat to Osasuna.


    There are also problems for the home side, who will be without Michael Ballack, Sidney Sam and Eren Derdiyok.


    The big team news emerging from the game is that Barcelona will be without key midfielder Xavi due to a calf problem.


    Live commentary will appear here from 1945 GMT.