Return of the Champions League: Leverkusen – Barcelona First Leg Liveblog

Xavi has been left out with calf problems, but Busquets is given the green light. Pique is left out entirely, whether that is due to his recent poor form, the car accident he was involved in two days ago, or because he has really bad gas – I don’t know. It looks like a 4-3-3 to me which probably means it will be the elusive 3-5-2.

I expect you to save all the whine for later tonight, it’s Valentine’s Day and you should be enjoying that with your loved one(s). (Bad Pun Count (BPC): 1)

Starting XI: Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Abidal, Fabregas, Busquets, Iniesta, Sanchez, Messi, Adriano

Bench: Pinto, Bartra, Dos Santos, Thiago, Roberto, Pedro, Cuenca

Leverkusen: Leno, Schwaab, Reinartz, Friedrich, Corluka, Kadlec, Castro, Rolfes, Bender, Augusto, Schurrle

Join me ten minutes before kickoff at 2:45 PM EST

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142 Comments

  1. blitzen
    February 15, 2012

    Here is the best highlight reel of the game I have found. Picture quality not the best, but it shows the lead up to the goals and a couple of “Messi moments” that didn’t result in goals:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6Z72L3B7t0&feature=related

    Just look at the way Messi kills himself to get in front of the defenders and on the end of Dani’s pass. Brilliant.

  2. February 15, 2012

    Couldn’t comment earlier because I was busy carving a trophy for Dani Alves. What an unselfish man. He’s happier assisting Messi than he is scoring. Their chemistry is unmatched.

    There was another play where Messi plays Alves in, who then attempts a backheel that ALMOST gets to Messi. Would have been some goal.

    As for that play where Messi darts between two defenders and dings it off the post, they showed the Bayer defender who just got owned patting Messi on the back after the play.

  3. February 15, 2012

    Said it plenty on twitter but just have to say it again: THIAGO. This kid is going to be (well, already is) something special. Xavi or Iniesta were no where NEAR as good at 20. Scary to think the sort of potential the kid has.

    Also has one of the best playing styles I’ve ever seen. Looks like he’s dancing out there, but with the fiesty steel of a coal miner.

    Can’t think of anyone else that was so good at 20. Only two players come to mind: Messi and the great Ronaldo. The latter, as I’m sure you all know, played for Barca at 20, scored 34 goals and won the Balon D’Or/World Player of the Year for that magical season.

    Can anyone else think of any stellar 20 year olds of similar calibre?

    • blitzen
      February 15, 2012

      Pele, of course, as I am sure he would be the first to point out. 😉

      • G6O
        February 15, 2012

        Maradona too.

        And many others.

      • February 15, 2012

        Dinosaurs tooting their own horn don’t count Blitz! Unless he’s willing to send me a DVD.

      • G6O
        February 15, 2012

        We all know the 60-year old Pele has said a lot of very stupid things, but that does not mean that we should diminish the accomplishments of the player Pele. He was a major contributor to a WC win before he turned 18, the world’s best player before he was 20, and held that title for a decade after that. Those are facts.

      • February 15, 2012

        I know, I know, I wasn’t bashing Pele as a player. Just joking about the loudmouth looney he has become now. Pele may have been incredible and a half but I never saw him play save for some poor quality highlights.

        I was more trying to remember players of recent times. Especially players I have seen and can remember well, instead of watching highlights of them.

      • Chiu
        February 15, 2012

        I think even the black and white tape video is still pretty blur mani haha.how dare you ask a dvd 🙂 Pele should keep his mouth shut and stop talking like kid wanting praise from people.

        Perhaps rooney looked equally brilliant at his 20

  4. February 15, 2012

    Working on the review slowly at the moment (I can’t conjure brilliance out of thin air like Kxevin can).

    Interesting spread of comments. My brother (and Arsenal fan as you might know if you pay attention to me) watched the game and was texting me during it. Some direct quotes:

    “Barcelona is too good it’s almost boring to watch”

    “They dominated”

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