Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller says he is “hurt” by Lionel Messi’s injury as the Bundesliga club prepare to face Barcelona in the Champions League.
Messi suffered knee ligament damage in Barca’s 2-1 win over Las Palmas on Saturday and has been ruled out of action for up to eight weeks by the reigning European champions.
Luis Enrique’s side host Leverkusen on Tuesday in the second round of group-stage fixtures but Voller says he takes little joy from the Argentina captain’s absence.
“I’ve heard that Lionel Messi has been injured. That hurts,” he was quoted as telling Bild. “Whenever I see him play, it goes right to my heart.”
Leverkusen warmed up for their trip to Catalonia with an impressive 3-0 win over Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on Saturday and Javier Hernandez is delighted with their improving form.
“The key to the win was the hard work we’ve put in over recent weeks,” said the former Manchester United striker. “We had a lot of chances and were very convincing today.
“We’re working really hard and it’s starting to bear fruit now. We’re a very close-knit group of players and everyone who comes onto the pitch has done well.
“Now we’re going to enjoy this victory after a very tough match. We’ve won two in a row now and want to make it three.”