Bayer Leverkusen look for their
first win in eight attempts against a Spanish team when they
entertain Valencia in a Champions League Group E tie on
Leverkusen's most recent defeat by a Spanish team came at
the hands of Villarreal in last season's Europa League round of
16. They had also drawn twice with Atletico Madrid earlier in
the same competition.
The last time the German team beat an outfit from Spain was
in 2004 when they defeated Real Madrid in the group stages.
Michael Ballack, who featured in the 2002 Champions League Final defeat by Real, said the Germans had the potential to go a
long way again this season.
"Last year we showed what we are capable of by finishing
second in the Bundesliga - why shouldn't the current team
succeed as well?" said the Leverkusen midfielder.
The former Chelsea player acknowledged, however, that
Valencia had more international experience.
"In recent years they have always played in the Champions
League," said Ballack. "They are simply much more steady and
more stable than Leverkusen but our goal is to reach second spot
in the group."
Chelsea, on four points from two games, are expected to
finish top in a section that also includes Racing Genk of
Leverkusen have three points, Valencia are on two while Genk
have one point.
"We are playing at home so the three points are obligatory
and if we then draw at Valencia that would be perfect," said
Leverkusen defender Gonzalo Castro.
The home team, eighth in the Bundesliga, are without
Brazilian midfielder Renato Augusto (knee surgery) but Omer
Toprak is expected to be back in defence.
Valencia, knocked out in the last 16 by Schalke 04 last
season, are fifth in La Liga.
They conceded a stoppage-time penalty in a 1-1 draw at Real
Mallorca on Saturday and coach Unai Emery was unhappy with his
side's inability to convert possession into goals.
Valencia defender Adil Rami said they would be aiming to
take maximum points on Wednesday.
"We are going there to win. It's a very important game for
us," he said.
"We are in a slightly difficult situation but we have a lot
of quality on the goal-scoring front."
Bayer Leverkusen: 23-Bernd Leno; 14-Hanno Balitsch, 3-Stefan
Reinartz, 21-Omer Toprak, 24-Michal Kadlec; 6-Simon Rolfes,
8-Lars Bender, 27-Gonzalo Castro, 18-Sidney Sam, 9-Andre
Schuerrle; 11-Stefan Kiessling;
Valencia: 1-Diego Alves; 23-Miguel, 4-Adil Rami, 18-Victor
Ruiz, 17-Jordi Alba; 6-David Albelda, 19-Pablo Hernandez,
10-Ever Banega, 16-Sergio Canales, 22-Jeremy Mathieu; 9-Roberto
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