Barcelona to face Bayer Leverkusen

So the Champions League draw went ahead without me being awake, which is simply unreasonable. Don’t they know I need a lot of beauty rest? Whatever, here are the results:

Bayer Leverkusen – Barcelona, taking place February 14 & March 7
Lyon – APOEL; February 14 – March 7
Napoli – Chelsea; February 21 – March 14
Milan – Arsenal; February 15 – March 6
Basel – Bayern Munich; February 22 – March 13
CSKA Moscow – Real Madrid; February 21 – March 14
Zenit St. Petersburg – Benfica; February 15 – March 6
Marseille – Internazionale; February 22 – March 13

While Manchester United fans might disagree with this assertion, it struck me that Basel was the easiest of the Round of 16 opponents Barça could have faced, so it’s too bad that didn’t happen from the perspective of qualifying for the quarterfinals, but the main point of interest is that Barça avoided Russia in February. Can’t be too displeased with that. The opponent that did get handed down is Bayer Leverkusen, who currently sit 6th in the Bundesliga, 12 points adrift of leaders Bayern Munich.

Treat this as you will, but most of you are probably letting out big sighs of relief based solely on the geographic location of the games, but also because there’s a perceived weakness on the part of Leverkusen. Yet in the group stage, Leverkusen won all 3 of their matches at home (against Valencia, Genk, and Chelsea) which certainly suggests a tougher opponent than earning 10 points might suggest. Drawing away to Genk wasn’t that crazy given both Chelsea and Valencia did the same thing, but it came at the wrong moment and Chelsea leapfrogged the Germans on the last group stage matchday and consigned Leverkusen to running up against teams like, say, Barcelona. Whoops.

What say you of this draw?

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Written by:

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. mani
    December 16, 2011

    Oh man, oh man, both English teams have a rather tough opponent. Looks like all the English luck in these draws usually goes to ManU. Oh right, they’ll be playing on Thursdays instead you say?

    Without being overconfident, I am satisfied with Leverkusen. Short flights, an OK opponent, oh and no Russia. 10 points for guessing who DID get the Russians? 😉

  2. blitzen
    December 16, 2011

    I’m happy with the draw. It won’t be a walkover by any means, but I am fairly certain of at least a draw away and a comfortable win for Barça at home. Very happy we didn’t get the Russians, just because of the distance involved.

    As for the other match-ups, Bayern Munich and RM shouldn’t have much trouble with their opponents. I hope Lyon lose to APOEL to punish them for knocking Ajax out, and I would love to see Marseille beat Inter.

    I’ll be cheering for Arsenal, but they will have a heck of a job with Milan. On paper they don’t look as good, but I’m picking them as surprise winners of this draw if they can nick an away goal in the first leg.

    Napoli/Chelsea is too close to call. Anything could happen here, and probably will. My only prediction is that Torres will not score a goal in either leg. 😛

    • mani
      December 16, 2011

      Quite the bold prediction you daredevil you 🙂

      Man, I am overloaded on Villa tweets since yesterday. @SiempreRoja7 has got to be the biggest El Guaje fan out there.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        December 16, 2011


        SiempreRoja07 changed her username from SiempreBarca07 immediately when she knew no Villa in FCB’s starting line up against EE.
        so yes, one of the biggest Guaje fangirl out there.

        like I’ve said in previous thread, not underestimating Leverkusen here, but I’m happy it’s not Napoli or CSKA…

        • mani
          December 16, 2011

          Hahah yes I remember that. She (didn’t know she was a she) was uber upset at Villa being on the bench. Though in Pep we trust- both the guys who would’ve been on the bench for Villa happened to score.

        • mani
          December 16, 2011

          Btw, I’m not too twitter savvy. How does one change their username? I thought it was whatever you made initially and you’re stuck with it. Is this not the case? Help me tweeples.

    • blitzen
      December 16, 2011

      I forgot to mention my joy that we get to play Ballack again. Who’s got that gif of him being chased by bees?

  3. Chiu
    December 16, 2011

    A good draw for Hlebuary I think 

    With respect, Leverkusen have good enough quality, but not enough to give us hard match. We could snatch 1 or 2 away goal, and then thump them at home with 3 or 4 goals.

    EE would get tricky game in Russia. CSKA have the probability to get good result (goalless draw or 1 goal difference win) at home, then park the bus at Bernabeu. Russian team typically strong as well physically

  4. Calvin
    December 16, 2011

    I couldn’t have asked for a better draw. No long travel times was the number 1 priority.

    Leverkeusen are a team that will challenge us, but with no disrespect meant they are a team we should be able to beat. Drawing too easy of a team right away can be dangerous and make us complacent, glad that didn’t happen.

    They also play a pretty attractive brand of football, so the tie should be entertaining.

    And Madrid drew CSKA? They will probably win out but that is a tough trip to make at a busy time of the year.

    Couldn’t be happier walking out of my last test before break!

  5. Blau-Grenade
    December 16, 2011

    It is great to have Leverkusen as our opponents in CL next round.

    Germans play open attacking football. That will make it a very entertaining two match affair.

    I have been to Germany many times and the atmosphere there in general, and at matches is phenomenal. Look forward to two great matches.

    • lyd
      December 16, 2011

      I agree.

      Plus i think Bayern Munich will prove to be the most competitive/intelligent opponent in our road to a successive CL trophy. Even if Bayern fails before meeting us, they are hosting the final so playing a German side before will work in our favor. Little things can can often work wonder in a long season.

  6. barca96
    December 16, 2011


    Thanks for replying. It’s always nice to hear your views and nice to know that you’re following this blog. I wish I could follow yours.

    Busi more defensive and short pass style, Alonso more leadership and long pass range

    Alonso maybe has the better long range passing but that is pretty useless in the Spain NT set up when they are set to play the short pass slow tempo game. You also said it yourself later on.

    Can you explain to me what you mean by Alonso’s leadership. I mean he is not the captain. I think Casillas/Puyol are the leaders of the outfield pitch.
    Xavi through his dictating play and Puyol the leader for the defense.

    I understand why people would interpret Alonso’s ability to work in tight spots as not up to par, considering when he plays against Barcelona (a team that offers little space to operate especially since they mark Alonso closely), I think people miss an important point. The reason why Alonso struggles so much in tight spaces against Barcelona isn’t because he lacks technique, but rather a system error in Real Madrid.

    But we were talking about Alonso’s position in the Spain NT, not how he plays for Madrid vs. Barca. I quoted a comment about Alonso having no business in the midfield in the Spain NT which I agree.

    We all can see, I mean, even Madridstas (sp?) can testify that Alonso’s technique is the lowest in the Spain midfield, it is certainly not his top attribute.

    Take out Busi and put Alonso and you will get more fluent play (before someone attacks me and my mother, I’m not saying that should happen). Not as strong defensively, but still more fluent.

    I assume you’re being sarcastic but after reading the last sentence I doubt it.

    You do admit that Busi is better defensively but why do you think that it’s more fluid when Alonso is on the field? Why do you think that is will be more fluent? Now I’m not judging individually but from the handful of times that Busi is a lone DM for Spain NT, they looked more fluid compared to the times when Alonso is alone.

    Many people has said in in other blogs and here as well once or twice, Alonso takes away a spot of a more attacking minded player like Cesc, Silva or Mata.

    I hope VdB will try the complete Barca midfield one day of Busi-Iniesta-Xavi. That is the recipe for success. It has worked for Barca and should be the template for the Spain NT.

    • mani
      December 16, 2011

      Well I don’t know about leadership, but Alonso definitely has more (and varied) experience. Spent good time at Anfield and understands “that” version of the game better. Also, another plus for Alonso is his ability to shoot from outside the box. Sergio wouldn’t even shoot if he was ON the goal line 😀

      Though I love the scrappy type of player Sergio is. Also doesn’t hurt being one of the best one-touch passers in the Seleccion.

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