This game won't mean much to FC Barcelona as they have already clinched first place in this group but Bayer Leverkusen on the other hand, need a win.
Barcelona are still on top of La Liga despite drawing against Valencia this weekend. Luis Suarez's goal was canceled out by Mina's creating strike as Barcelona showed their weakness on the counterattack once again. The draw allowed both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid to close the gap between themselves and the Catalans in the La Liga table.
Barca are only two points ahead of second place Atletico and will need to maintain their pace as Atleti are hitting their stride in Spain. In Europe Barcelona are thriving. They recently dispatched Roma 6-1 in the Camp Nou in their last fixture and now play Bayer Leverkusen with nothing to play for. Many of the normal first team players are not expected to play as Luis Enrique seems to be thinking about future fixtures rather than this one.
It has been a struggle for Bayer Leverkusen as they sit 8th in the Bundesliga. Leverkusen are winless in their last three games as they most recently lost to Herta Berlin 2-1. With the likes of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund seperating themselves from the pack, Leverkusen can realistically get 3rd and that will be enough for them to qualify for the Champions League. In the Champions League, Bayer are tied with Roma with 5 points for second in the group. They need a win to advance to the knockout stages and will be desperate for a win.
The key player for Barcelona will be goalie Marc-Andre Ter-Stegen. The German has been key for Barcelona in the Champions League as he splits time with Claudio Bravo. He is not happy and wants to play in La Liga but Bravo's form is keeping him on the bench. If Barcelona choose to let him leave in the summer, the UCL could be a great audition for the young German keeper.
Leverkusen's key playe to watch will be striker Javier Hernandez. Chicarito has been on fire since he came over to Germany. He has been a goal scoring machine and has been Bayer's best attacking player. He most recently scored in Bayer's last game and will be looking to break through the Barcelona defense.
Barcelona will be missing a lot of their main starters as Luis Enrique has called up many of the Barcelona B players for this match so expect a lot of youth on the pitch for Barcelona. Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique will be rested for this match.
Barcelona will also most likely be without Neymar as the Brazilian suffered a hamstring injury in training.
What They're Saying
"His recovery will dictate his availability for the coming fixtures," said FC Barcelona on their website (via ESPNFC) when asked about Neymar's injury.
"I have a rule that I do not make public my conversations with the club staff. It is not my style and would not be logical." said Luis Enrique when asked about his transfer options in January during a Champions League press conference (via ESPNFC)