Bayer Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt feels it is almost impossible to stop Barcelona’s fit-again superstar Lionel Messi.
The Bundesliga outfit came close to springing a surprise against Barca earlier this season, but conceded two goals in the final 10 minutes as they were beaten 2-1 at Camp Nou.
Leverkusen need three points when they host the Catalan giants on Wednesday if they are to make it to the knockout stages of the Champions League, but Schmidt realises a tough task awaits.
“Barcelona are in great shape. With Messi being fit again, they are even stronger – he is the best player in the world after all. There is no way to completely deny him.
“Together with Bayern Munich, they are probably the best side in the world. We are looking forward to the game and want to compete with them in our own stadium. We have already shown that we are capable of putting in special performances in Europe.”
Much will depend on the form of Javier Hernandez, who has already scored 13 goals in 21 appearances in all competitions for Leverkusen after joining from Manchester United, and Schmidt is confident the Mexico international can make the difference on Wednesday.
“Javier Hernandez has already scored a lot of goals for us,” Schmidt added.
“In Barcelona [on matchday two], he had two good chances – I am sure he will grab them if they arrive Wednesday.”