15 February 2012

Friedrich and Kadlec, accused of not very professional to fight for the T-shirt of Messi


Defenders of Manuel Friedrich Bayer and Michal Kadlec has been strongly criticized by German media unprofessional: as revealed by the Sky TV network, both plagued Leo Messi once the first part of the Leverkusen-Barça in the knockout round of Champions and literally fought to get the shirt of '10 'Barca after the final whistle.

At that time recorded a 0-1 score and the home was not offering the best image, so they reproaches that were, like kids, be more aware of the elastic Leo party, which in eventually ended 1-3.

The winner of the unfortunate litigation was the Czech left-back Kadlec, established that while the momentary 1-1 also led the comeback Barcelona with its rulings, the loser, the central Germanic Friedrich, was given a resounding hold for slow and absent. Michal Kadlec was portrayed Messi charging the dam on the lawn of BayArena. (via MD)

[Former B player] Arteta: "At Arsenal played like in la Masia"

Mikel Arteta, and now Barca squad Arsenal, said Wenger's Arsenal play Barca style.

Mikel Arteta was sincere in an interview with the newspaper El Pais, on the occasion of the previous leg of the knockout final disputatá Arsenal against Milan.

The Basque examined his record, especially in his time as Barca, in the subsidiary, which did not make the jump to the first team: "In Barca my clogged Guardiola, Xavi, De la Peña, Iniesta ... You can be in a skyscrapers, but not the Empire State. I always wondered what would have happened to have gone there. More than anything, because it was a crazy fan of Barca, to the point that my father sent me to bed because I would often hysterical with the games. Laudrup and Guardiola were great. But I decided to go and start an adventure, "he said.

Now in the Arsenal, based in the ownership of a team Champions, the medium compared his team to the Masia: "Yes, that's football I was taught as a child. La Masia is like many of the exercises, objectives of training ... even in how parties face, thinking more of how harm than how we played. Everton was used in the more physical and played the rough way. But passing the buck is fashionable in England and that is welcome. Now there are many teams that rasean the ball." (via SPORT)

The Bernabeu, discarded

The cup final is not played at the Bernabeu. This has been assured Jorge Perez, secretary general of the RFEF.

It seems that the soap opera butler by the host the final of the Copa del Rey is coming to an end. As reported by Ona FM, the Santiago Bernabeu stadium is not that welcome, as announced by the secretary general of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, Jorge Perez Arias. The secretary ruled out any possibility of dispute in the feud after speaking with Florentino Madrid on Monday. Jorge Perez also made ​​it clear that La Cartuja and the Vicente Calderon are almost certainly ruled out, so the most viable option is now Mestalla, but to be on 25 stadium could look into mattress. (via SPORT)

The team arrives in Barcelona, training session scheduled for Thursday

The Barça expedition arrived at El Prat airport at 13:00. The team will enjoy some free time until tomorrow’s training session at the Ciutat Esportiva (11:00).



FC Barcelona’s first team arrived in Barcelona. After a two-hour flight from Cologne, the Barça entourage touched down at El Prat airport at 13:00. The Barça team spent the night in Germany after beating Bayer 04 Leverkusen by 1-3.

After eating together at the Camp Nou, the players were given the rest of the day off. They will convene on Thursday at 11:00 for a training session at the Ciutat Esportiva. It will be the first for three session - the team will have Friday off - before hosting Valencia at the Camp Nou on Sunday. After tomorrow’s training session, Víctor Valdés will hold a press conference. (via FCBarcelona.com)

Puyol reveals the dressing of Alexis


Alexis Sanchez has been the star of Barca's victory in the BayArena (1-3) thanks to two goals to Bayer Leverkusen on track left by the classification of Guardiola for the quarter-finals of the Champions League .

But thanks to a photo after the game published by Carles Puyol in his account of twitter , we proved that the Chilean is not fully recovered from his shoulder injury that creeps upon the entry of Pepe at Barca-Real Madrid . In the picture, taken in the dressing room, you can see the Barca captain and Chilean, both shirtless, which discovers the bandage has been Alexis during the meeting.

But that has not been an impediment for the 'Wonder Boy' has been released as a scorer in European competition, and also twice. (via MD)

Florentino: "I told you not play the final at the Bernabeu"

Florentino and forwarded to the Federation that Madrid would not give their stadium, but his anger increased after Monday's meeting in Las Rozas.

To Florentino Perez does not sit well that the Spanish Football Federation has given reel to the request of Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona to play the final of the Copa del Rey. Real Madrid had already slipped informally that it would be impossible to give way to the final stage, and its president staged his anger in separate talks with Jorge Perez, secretary general of the Spanish Football Federation.

According to the website revealed ElEconomista.es Florentino Perez called the secretary general of the RFEF last Friday to make it clear that Madrid was not going to offer its field. "Sorry, but we can not," he said, in an attempt to address the alternative at the Bernabeu and the Federation empezase study as soon as possible alternatives.

But the anger of the white president was multiplied on Monday when, after the meeting between the three parties (Athletic, Barcelona and Federation) in Madrid, it was clear the position of the Madrid press clubs and force him to publicly justify their position. After the meeting, which urged clubs RFEF contact with Real Madrid, was the secretary of the Federation who called Florentine. "We're not grooming you to take the Bernabeu. I told you, "replied the president of Madrid in a harsh tone, visibly upset.

If Madrid maintains its position, the Federation will have no grounds to force him to give up their stadium. Secondary roads should be open, especially the Mestalla (Valencia is the only club that has offered its stage). The Calderon have not ruled out: if the final to be played on May 25, we could replant the grass after the Coldplay concert offered in that precinct on the 20th, but the RFEF not want to risk taking as high logistics cost. (via SPORT)

Hazard sends a message to Barca

Eden Hazard said yesterday that he has not decided his future, despite reports of 'France Football', which ensured that the player had reached agreement with Tottenham for the next course. The Belgian was left wanting for Barcelona and Madrid: "La Liga is probably more my style of play, but should be at Madrid or Barcelona," he told RTBF. (via SPORT)

Bale: "I am happy here at the moment ..."

Gareth Bale is happy with this for Tottenham, but will continue to leave for other clubs. The Barcelona pursues its signing.

The future of Gareth Bale is still unknown today. Welsh is one of the major objectives of Barcelona for next season and so far the player is left wanting. Yesterday said he was happy at Tottenham, but added that things can change in the coming days. "I'm happy at Tottenham ... of time. Now we're in the right direction and is a very exciting time for the institution, "he said in 'ESPN'. With the top team in the Premiership, Bale was delighted with the situation of the club. "We have a team with young people and we are still under construction. We have new facilities for training and plans are underway for a new stadium, so things seem to go in the right direction. "

And is that Tottenham is becoming one of the greats of the Premier. "We are up there fighting for the Premier and I see no reason not to keep progressing."

Bale also happy with his role on the team, which is the cornerstone on which revolves the whole team. Now even more focused play, just as Cristiano Ronaldo in his time at ManU. "I talked about it before with Redknapp. Also with my agent. If you notice Cristiano at the top he played very close to the band and the teams began to bend the markings. So I had to go over the middle and change your game. "

According to British media, the continuity of Bale, Tottenham will depend in part on whether Redknapp still at the helm next season. (via SPORT)

[The Ratings; UCL; 1/8; Leg1] Bayer Leverkusen - FC Barcelona (1-3)

OVERALL RATING OF 6.8

VALDES 7, ALVES 7, PUYOL 7, MASCHERANO 8, ABIDAL 5, BUSQUETS 6, CESC 7, INIESTA 7, ALEXIS 8 (MOM), MESSI 7, ADRIANO 6, THIAGO 7, PEDRO 6, CUENCA -. (via SPORT)

Alves: “It's a good advantage but we have to finish it at home”

Pep Guardiola’s players are very pleased with tonight’s victory over Bayer Leverkusen, but they all agree that they cannot feel too comfortable ahead of the return leg. Cesc Fabregas said: “The team, always, has the same level of excitement and the same motivation. The boss won’t let us give up”.

The FC Barcelona players were satisfied when they walked off the pitch of the BayArena. Víctor Valdés said, “the key was controlling the game from the beginning.” However, Cesc Fabregas recognized that his team was sluggish at the start of the second half: “in the second half, we fell asleep in the first minutes but on the whole we played a very good game.”

The tie is not yet won. Pep Guardiola’s men are aware that this result is not definitive and that they still have a very important match at the Camp Nou. Alexis Sánchez said, “the tie isn’t over. We have to win again and do as good of a job as we did here.” Cesc also talked about the return leg: “it’s a good result but in football you have to be humble and respect your opponent. We have to go for it at the Camp Nou, like always.” Lastly, Dani Alves said that the team cannot feel too confident against a team like Bayer Leverkusen: “against German teams you can’t feel comfortable, because at the slightest chance they’ll score. We have to remain concentrated in the next match.”

Here are some of the best statements made by some of the players after the match:

Cesc:

“There were reasons we played like we did in the first half: they are a very physical team. Perhaps this kind of play is a bit boring but that’s the kind of play we needed to employ.

“We’re always excited [to play] even though it can appear otherwise from the outside. The team always has the same level of excitement and the same motivation. The boss won’t let us give up.

“They can complicate the whole game with one counterattack but we dominated the situation. We’re very pleased.

“What happened in Pamplona was a disappointment because we let the league slip away, but the Champions Leauge is the most beautiful competition there is. The Champions League is difficult [to win] because the best teams in Europe compete for the title.”

Alexis:

“I scored two goals, but a teammate gave me the opportunity to do it. I took advantage of the room they gave me.

“I always like to give more of myself in each game, but I still don’t feel completely comfortable.”

Valdés:

“You always have the return leg, and this time it’s against a German side. It’s a good result but we have to finish it off at home.

“It’s worth highlighting each player that went forward against a team that closed itself off very well defensively.”

Alves:

“I think we have an important advantage but we must finish our work at the Camp Nou.

“Winning always helps, it gives you encouragement and another spirit. A good quality that we have is that we accept things as they come. We adjusted phenomenally from one competition to another and we’ll fight until the end.

“I wasn’t too preoccupied with shooting, I simply decided to assist Messi. He had made an important play previously, and I wanted him to score. We’re all happy.”(via FCBarcelona.com)

Pedro reaches 150 official matches for FC Barcelona

In his 150 official matches, the striker has scored 52 goals, many of them decisive, for FC Barcelona.

Pedro Rodríguez played in his 150th official match for FC Barcelona tonight at the BayArena against Bayer Leverkusen. The 24-year-old striker made his debut for Barça’s first team, whilst under the management of Frank Rijkaard, four years ago. It was in January 12, 2008 when Pedrito, his preferred nickname at the time, came on for Samuel Eto’o in the dying minutes of the game against Real Madrid (matchday 19).

Since then he’s played 89 league matches, 18 Cup matches, 32 Champions League matches, 5 Spanish Super Cup matches, 2 European Super Cup matches and 4 Club World Cup games.

Frank Rijkaard was the manager that gave the then reserve side player his debut with the first team. However, it was under Pep Guardiola, Perdo’s manager during Barça B’s promotion-winning year, that the Spaniard made room for himself in the first team. Under Guardiola, Pedro’s quality and goalscoring prowess have been on display for nearly three and a half years. His first goal for the team was in San Mames in the Spanish Super Cup in the summer of 2009 and since then he’s scored 52 goals in the Barça strip. The player also has a knack for scoring decisive goals, like the overtime goal in Monaco during the European Super Cup, or in the final of the Club World Cup that brought Barça level with Estudiantes minutes before full time.

Goals in every competition

In 2009, Pedro was the first player to ever score in six different competitions in the same year. He nabbed the record on December 16, 2009, in Abu Dhabi in the semifinals of the Club World Cup. That was the only remaining competition that he needed to score in after netting goals in the league, Champions League, King’s Cup and both the Spanish and European Super Cups. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Cesc: "We miss Xavi"

Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas has admitted that the absence of Xavi Hernandez is still a major drag on FC Barcelona.

Despite the victory 1-3 in the field of Bayer Leverkusen, Arenys remembered the absence of Xavi because "it's a unique player and miss him."

"Xavi is a leader, have joy and character. It is vital and unique," he pointed Fabregas after completing the Champions League match in Germany, this time again could not involve Xavi, who is recuperating for a few problems physical.

The game on Tuesday, Fabregas said that the Bayer Leverkusen had been a "hardware", and thus gave credibility to the work they have done Barca.

"The tie is on track. We must continue on the same line. Now we have to tighten in the league. The difference of ten points is very large, but we carry a large shield and should be left up." (via SPORT)

Alexis Sánchez: "We will continue to the end, whatever it takes"

Neither Sergio Busquets and Alexis Sanchez wanted to give the tie closed the end of the match against Bayer Leverkusen.

The barcelonistas Alexis Sánchez and Sergio Busquets have been held at the end of the match in Leverkusen 1-3, his team, but neither has given the result for the final leg at Camp Nou in two weeks.

The Chilean author of the first two goals of Barcelona, ​​said that his second was "fundamental" couple to reassure his team, after Bayer Leverkusen were to tie the game.

"We have the right foot in the quarter-finals but we can not relax for the Barcelona match. We will continue to the end, no matter what," said.

Meanwhile, midfielder Sergio Busquets, who returned to the ownership after a serious injury when he suffered a cut below the knee, admitted he was "very tired" and some "hurt" in some actions.

"It was a good result and peace of mind for the return and also to the League. The round is not sentenced. It was a good result and we know how the Germans. The 1-3 is reassuring," said.

Busquets want victory in this round of the knockout stages of the Champions League serves "to soar in the league," after he was ten points behind the leader. (via SPORT)

Dutt: "We had too much respect for Barça in the first half"

Bayer Leverkusen coach Robin Dutt, admitted that his team had too much respect to Barça in the match that eventually ended up losing at home (1-3) even praised the defensive work of the first 45 minutes.

"The defensive order of the first 45 minutes was very good, we played very disciplined but had too much respect," Dutt said after the match.

"I think most likely not allow a point of failure and brought the first goal", he added.

In the second half the team, according to Dutt, dared to leave more and is satisfied although he added "it is clear that when it comes to playing well against a team like Barcelona you can end up in trouble." (via SPORT)

Guardiola: “The second half is a lesson for the return leg”

The Barça manager said that he’s “satisfied with this first step” after the victory over Leverkusen, but he called for prudence ahead of the return leg.

“I had a better time in the second half, [however] we played better in the first.” These were the first words of Josep Guardiola after his team put in a good showing against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the Champions League. In the first half Barça corralled Bayer Leverkusen in their own half and in the second, much more open than the first, the Catalans finished off the game (1-3).

The second half allowed the manager to encourage his team to not lose focus ahead of the return leg: “the second half should be a lesson to us for the return leg. The Germans have a great virtue, they only need half a chance to put you in a bind. Their faith is indestructible.”

Guardiola highlighted his team’s attitude: “scoring three goals away from home is great, the guys behaved themselves like they always do. We took a step towards the quarterfinal draw.” The manager said that he wasn’t surprised by the chances Leverkusen created in the second half. “I can’t expect to come here and not concede goalscoring chances. We also created quite a few chances in the second half,” said Guardiola.

The manager said he has a good feeling about the team after tonight’s match at the BayArena: “I have the perception that since we were on such good form before it makes us seem merely regular now, but we’re OK. These guys are artists when it comes to competing.”

When asked about specific players, the manager was very clear about Messi and Piqué. On the Argentine, Guardiola said, “he continues to demonstrate a certain fortitude that’s vital for us. He’s the best and we’re fortunate to have him.” On the defender, one of the four players that didn’t suit up tonight, the manager said, “on Saturday we don’t have Mascherano or Alves, I couldn’t afford to lose Gerard. I called up Bartra because we needed him and I wanted him to be on the bench. Piqué knows that I have lots of love for him. For us, he’s untouchable.” (via FCBarcleona.com)

[UCL; 1/8; Leg1] Bayer Leverkusen 1 - 3 FC Barcelona

Barça have given their fans the perfect Valentine’s Day gift – a convincing win away to Bayer Leverkusen that puts them well on course for a place in the quarter finals. Alexis (2) and Messi scored the goals for the visitors.


The European champions resumed their title defence in style. For the first time under Guardiola, they won the away leg of a second round tie, 3-1 at German side Bayer Leverkusen. And it was thoroughly deserved win too, with the Catalans dominating from start to finish, and Alexis Sánchez playing the decisive role. The Chilean was on target twice, while Messi finished things off with Barça's third. Kadlec had managed to pull the Bundesliga side back level early in the second half, but an outstanding Valdés managed to prevent Beyer from adding to their tally.

The result puts FC Barcelona in a wonderful position and they can rightly feel optimistic about their chances of ensuring a place in the last eight on March 7 at the Camp Nou.

It didn't take long to work out what kind of game it was going to be. Bayer sat back with as many as five defenders and all eleven players in their own half, and thus handed the initiative to their visitors. That's always a dangerous tactic against Barça, who played the ball around with ease as they patiently searched for gaps in the German defence. Indeed, at one point, their possession was as a high as an extraordinary 80%, and it seemed only a matter of time before the first goal would come.

But Guardiola's players were uncharacteristically unimaginative up front – even with seven players in attack they struggled to find space, which was understandable with eleven tightly packed Leverkusen men to find their way through. It was going to take either a wonderful combination play or a flash of individual brilliance to break through the German wall. Or otherwise a Bayer error, which is precisely how the build-up to Alexis' goal began. Messi collected the ball in the centre of the park and sent a delightful through ball to the Chilean, who drove the ball low and hard past goalkeeper Leno. 1-0.

Straight after the break and in practically Bayer's first serious approach on Valdés' goals, Bayer Leverkusen scored. A high cross into the area from Corluka was headed home by Kadlec and the celebrations broke out in the Bayarena. But they didn't last long. Two minutes later Cesc spotted Alexis breaking away from his marker, and the Chilean once again got the better of Leno, this time with some splendid dribbling skill and an expertly converted finish. Two for the Chilean. Silence in Germany.

Now 2-1 down, Bayer Leverkusen had no option but to abandon their ultra-defensive approach and go for something a little more proactive. And the plan might have worked had it not been for Valdés, who managed to block no more than three clear-cut chances, one of which was turned onto the post. But despite these isolated moments when Bayer were threatening, Barça always looked more in control of affairs. Messi almost scored the goal of the competition, but his amazing chip over Leno rebounded back off the post, while Alexis almost completed his hat-trick with a header from a corner.

The second half had been a considerably more gripping affair than the somewhat sleepy first 45 minutes, and it seemed highly unlikely that it was going to end 2-1. One sensed there was more to come, and indeed there was when yet another penetrating through ball from Barça, this time by Alves, led to Messi making it three for the visitors. It was the perfect end to an evening on which Barcelona were once again able to show the world just why they are the reigning European champions. (via FCBarcelona.com)


[Match Data]
Bayer Leverkusen: Leno; Corluka (Da Costa, 90), Friedrich, Schwaab, Kadlec; Reinartz, Rolfes (Kiessling, 77); Schürrle (Bellarabi, 90), Castro, Bender; and Renato Augusto.

FC Barcelona: Valdes; Dani Alves, Mascherano, Puyol, Abidal; Cesc, Busquets; Iniesta (Thiago Alcántara, 61), Messi, Adriano (Pedro, 69); and Alexis (Cuenca, 86)

Goals: 0-1 (min 41, Alexis), 1-1 (min 52, Kadlec), 1-2 (min 55, Alexis), 1-3 (min 88, Messi).

Referee: Craig Thomson (Escocia). Amonestó to Schwaab, Corluka, y Castro Thiago Alcántara.

Tabs: First leg of the knockout stages of the Champions League, played at the Bay Arena Leverkusen stadium.

Adriano, with discomfort in the soleus of the left leg has been replaced as a precaution. (via FCB twitter)

The FEF denies that the Cup final is played in Paris

The heads of Saint Denis would have sent the offer after Madrid's refusal to pay its stadium, according to France Football. FEF denies it and says to be played in Spain.

The RTL , citing France Football, ensures that those responsible for the stadium in Saint Denis would have sent a proposal to the Spanish Football Federation for the final of the Copa del Rey , among Ahtletic and Barcelona, ​​are staged in Paris . Given the refusal of Madrid to give up their stadium, Saint Denis, France's largest stadium, with capacity for 81,000 spectators, could meet the needs of both teams.

However, federal sources deny the proposal and say categorically that the meeting be held in Spain . King comes to grief.

The chain, however, remember that two Supercup of Portugal , that of 1995 (Porto, Benfica, 1-0) and in 1996 (Sporting, Porto, 3-0), were played at Parc des Princes in the capital French. (via AS)

Xavi, to miss Leverkusen clash

The player sustained an injury to his right leg ahead of the away leg match against Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

Xavi Hernández has been ruled out of the last-16 away leg of the Champions League against Bayer 04 Leverkusen. The Barça midfielder sustained an injury to his right leg, forcing Guardiola to replace him at the BayArena.

The player’s recovery will mark his availability for Barça’s upcoming matches. Xavi has not played in three of Barça’s four latest matches. He was on the bench for the league games against Osasuna and Real Sociedad and for the Cup return leg at the Camp Nou last week against Valencia. (via FCBarcelona.com)

Raúl encourages Barça

Raúl González Blanco has been in the concentration of Barca in Cologne spirits blowing his former teammates and his good friend Pep Guardiola. Raul has done 70 kilometers to reach the Hotel Hyatt Regency.

According to El Mundo Deportivo 'Raul's visit took place at the dinner after training in Barcelona BayArena Leverkusen. The expedition Barca was pleasantly surprised by the visit of former captain of Real Madrid.

Raul chatted a while with his friend Pep Guardiola, who wished luck in the face of tonight's game against Bayer Leverkusen. (via Marca)

Bayer Leverkusen present FC Barcelona with a bar football table to be auctioned for charity

The foosball table has been signed by members of both teams and will be auctioned for a children’s charity that works with Leverkusen.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen have given FC Barcelona a bar football table in recognition of their visit to Germany for the Champions League fixture this week. The table was presented at the Monday night supper for executives from both clubs. FC Barcelona President Sandro Rosell led the FCB entourage, and was able to admire the table with the signatures of the Barça players, who had signed it just before they trained in the BayArena, and also the members of the Bayer Leverkusen squad.

During the dinner, Rosell and a member of the football area, Raúl Sanllehí, teamed up against Bayer Chairman Wolfgang Holzhäuser and his director of sport and former player Rudi Völler.

The table will shortly be auctioned off. The money collected will go to a charity organisation based in Leverkusen that works with children. (via FCBarcelona.com)

Spanish League Round Up Week 22

Real Madrid’s 4-2 win over Levant leaves them 10 points ahead at the top after round 22 of La Liga, whilst Valencia also had a good victory at the weekend, beating Sporting 4-0 ahead of next week’s game against Barça.

At the bottom, Zaragoza pulled off a shock win away to Espanyol, Sporting's problem deepen, Racing took a point against Atletico Madrid and Villarreal and Real Sociedad both lifted themselves towards mid-table safety with their wins over Granada and Seville.

Cristiano Ronaldo got another hat trick to make it 27 goals in the league so far for the Madrid man, as his team came back from an early strike by Levant's Gustavo Cabral to run out 4-2 winners. Levante hung onto fourth place though, as both Espanyol and Bilbao lost and Atletico Madrid drew. Valencia are now eight points clear of Levant and prepared for their European tie against Stoke City and the league game against Barça next weekend with an emphatic 4-0 win over the struggling Sporting, who announced the appointment of Javier Clemente as manager on Monday.

Just a single goal separates Levant and Espanyol, who might have expected more from their home game against Zaragoza, however the bottom club shocked Pochettino's side with two second half goals from da Silva and Juan Carlos that gave them their first away win of the season, but still leaves them nine points from salvation. Bilbao also lost the chance to overtake Levant, losing 2-1 to Betis who scored a last gasp winner through Neilson. Javi Martinez got the Basque's goal, but was sent off leaving Bielsa's team with 10 men for the last half hour.

Bilbao drop to 9th, with Atletico Madrid, Malaga and Osasuna all a point behind Espanyol and Levant and a point ahead of the Basques. Simeone's team could only take a point from their goalless game at Racing, with the home side's keeper Toño and the woodwork somehow keeping out the potent Atletico attackers. Malaga meanwhile, put their European challenge back on track with a 3-1 win at home to Mallorca ahead of next week's visit to San Mames.

Michel failed to make a winning start with Seville on Monday night when his team went down 2-0 at Anoeta to Real Sociedad, for whom the impressive youngster Ruben Pardo scored his debut goal in La Liga following Carlos Vela's opener. That win means Real are now 11th on 27 points, one more than Seville, who face a tough series of games against Osasuna, Valencia and Atletico Madrid before hosting Barça next month. Michel's team are level on points with Betis and Villarreal, who beat Granada 2-1, with just 4 points separating the 8 teams between 11 and 18th.

In the weekend's other game, Rayo beat Getafe, who had Michel sent off, 2-0 to move up into the top half of the table. (via FCBarcelona.com)

Bayer Leverkusen-Barça: Did you know…?

The teams will be facing each other in Europe for the seventh time on Tuesday, though only once before have they met in a two legged tie, nearly 20 years ago, when the Germans won.

  • Over the six games, Barça have won three times, with two wins for Bayer and one drawn game.
  • Barça have won one, lost one and drawn one game away to Bayer.
  • Four of the games between the two have occurred in the group phase of the Champions League, with the other two in the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup in the 1987/88 season, when Bayer won over the two legs (0-0 and 0-1).
  • Luis Enrique and Saviola, with two goals each, are the Barça players who have scored most goals against Bayer.
  • Barça have beaten three German teams in Champions League knock out games: Schalke 04 (2007/08), Bayern Munich (2008/09) and Stuttgart (2009/10).
  • In all, Barça have played 21 games in Germany, wining 8, drawing 8 and losing 5 games.
  • Bayer Leverkusen will be trying to reach the last eight for the first time since 2001/02, when they ended up as runners-up.
  • The German team has conceded 199 goals in UEFA competitions so far in its history.
  • For Bayer, Kiessling, Toprak, Kadlec and the injured Ballack and Derdiyok are just a card away from suspension, whilst Puyol is in the same position for Barça.
  • The referee for the game is the Scot Craig Thomson, who has been in charge of the two teams once before – last season he refereed Barça's quarter final game against Shaktar (5-1) and the Bayer – Valencia match this season in the group stage. Tuesday's game will be Thomson's 14th Champions League game. (via FCBarcelona.com)