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Bayer out to make home tie count against Barcelona
Bayer Leverkusen coach Robin Dutt said his team must make home advantage count in their first-leg clash against holders Barcelona in the Champions League Round of 16 match on Tuesday.
"I would be happy with a nice safe 5-0 result," quipped the Leverkusen coach dryly with the return leg at Barcelona's formidable Nou Camp stadium on March 7.
Few may share Dutt's optimism at the thought of his team sending Barcelona back to Spain with a heavy defeat, but certainly Bayer, who are sixth in the German league, will need an above-average performance to stop the Spaniards.
"The result is not so much the issue, but it would be nice if we still had an open situation for the return match," said Dutt.
Pep Guardiola's Barcelona are a massive 10 points behind Real Madrid in the Spanish league and suffered a shock 3-2 defeat at Osasuna on Saturday, but their team includes the class of Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas.
The silky skills of Argentina star Lionel Messi are sure to feature and Dutt referred to the Spanish giants as a 'passing machine', while midfielder Gonzalo Castro said Barcelona are "perhaps the best team that ever existed".
Leverkusen won all of their three home games in the Champions League's group stages, but Barcelona averaged four goals per away match and netted 12 in their three European matches away from hone.
They have lost just one of their last nine European fixtures on their travels.
Almost apologetically, Dutt talked in terms of a footballing miracle.
"We haven't seen everything yet in football," he said, but Czech Republic defender Michal Kadlec insisted his team need to dream and stay positive if they are to get a good result at home.
"In football there have been miracles before, why shouldn't it happen on Tuesday?," he said.
"It can happen once or twice that Barcelona have an off day and we have to try and get a goal or two to help us with the return leg."
Leverkusen managed only three shots on goal over the entire 90 minutes in their 1-0 Bundesliga defeat at Dortmund last Saturday and former Germany defender Manuel Friedrich warned against showing the Spaniards too much respect.
"We should certainly show respect, but not too much," said the centre-back, who headed the winner against Chelsea in the 2-1 group stage home victory.
"You have to look forward to the challenge, give it all, run until the doctor comes and see what happens after that," he said.
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