Bayer Leverkusen vs. Barcelona: 3 things that will shape the outcome to Champions League tie

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Barcelona head to Germany in the comfort of knowing that they are already qualified as Group E winners.

No matter what happens in both matches, the Catalans' lead at the summit is insurmountable.

A 6-1 demolition of AS Roma last time out has really sent out a message to anyone wishing to take Barca's crown from them. They mean business.


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At this point, it's hard to see beyond them becoming the first team in the modern era to retain the trophy, however, it was at precisely this stage last season when the wheels began to come off for Real Madrid.

Carlo Ancelotti's side were on a 22-game winning streak as this stage yet ended the season with nothing.

That should be a lesson to Luis Enrique's charges that if they want to make history, they've got to earn it.

Let's take a look at three things that could affect the outcome of this match...

Team selection

The temptation from Luis Enrique to select a virtual second string XI must be enormous.

This tie is a "dead rubber" for Barcelona and as such, the manager does not need to risk any of his first team.

With a couple of important league games and the Club World Cup to follow before Christmas, the last thing that Enrique needs at this juncture is more injuries to key players.

The one issue that can counteract such an argument is match sharpness.

Removal of players for one 90 minute game may not seem a lot, but even the smallest percentages can sometimes make the biggest difference.

It would be a luxury to have the team fresh and ready for Japan, but is it a risk Lucho is ready to take?

Current form

Although Bayer have the Bundesliga Player of the Month in their ranks in Javier Hernandez, the "Little Pea" hasn't been able to stop his team's recent slump.

Over the course of the last six matches, the Germans have won just once and in four of the games have managed just a single goal.

Compare that to Barca's astonishing haul of 26 goals with just two conceded in the same time frame - one of those a last-kick-of-the-match.

Four goals against Real Madrid and Real Sociedad and six against both AS Roma and Villanovense. Not to mention three more against Villarreal and BATE Borisov.

Over the course of the last few weeks, there simply hasn't been a team that can live with the Catalans.

Bayer positivity

Leverkusen have only one option in this game and that is to attack.

At the end of the game, we may well find that the Germans only needed to draw the game to ensure safe passage, but they cannot approach the game in that frame of mind.

Both Roma and BATE can still qualify ahead of Bayer if results go their way.

Should Roger Schmidt's side play as well as in the first game between the sides, there is every chance they can get the result required to progress.

Sit back and attempt to hit Barca on the counter and not only could it backfire, but the Germans could even end up at the bottom of the pile and out of Europe altogether.

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