Lionel Messi has scored six Champions League goals this campaign. Image courtesy of: uefa.com
It’s been three nearly months since the Champions’ League group stages came to close, however it is all guns blazing from here until the final in May. The first match of the knockout stages places defending champions Barcelona up against Bundesliga side Bayern Leverkusen . Barcelona has been relentless on their way to the round of sixteen finding the back of the net on twenty occasions. Inspirational striker Lionel Messi has been at the forefront of their charge scoring six goals and setting up three.
Bayern Leverkusen won all three home matches in the group stages of competition however their first real test comes in the form of a rampaging Barca team who average four goals per away match. Michael Ballack will be the player to watch for Leverkusen, the experienced central midfielder is no stranger to performing on the big stage.
The two club’s haven’t met since the second group stage of the 2002/03 Champions League competition, on that occasion Barecelona recorded a 2-1 win in Leverkusen and a 2-0 victory at home to progress to the third round of the competition.
In the other match of the morning French outfit Lyon face Cyrpiot side AOPEL who finished runner-up behind Real Madrid in group D after thrashing Dinamo Zagreb 7-1 and overtaking Ajax on goal difference to progress to the knockout rounds.
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