Champions League

Bayer Leverkusen 2 - Barcelona 1

Bayer Leverkusen: Butt; Sebescen (Bastürk 46'), Lucio, Nowotny, Placente; Schneider, Ramelow, Ballack, Zé Roberto (Zivkovic 84'); Kirsten (Ojigwe 75'), Neuville. 4-4-2.
Barcelona: Bonano; Puyol (Gabri 72'), Christanval, Andersson, Sergi; Rochemback (Gerard 79'), Xavi, Cocu; Geovanni (Saviola 55'), Luis Enrique; Kluivert. 4-3-2-1.

0-1. 21. Luis Enrique. Took Kluivert pass, turned Nowotny and chipped Butt.
1-1. 52. Bastürk. Took pass from Neuville on left and fired low shot past Bonano.
2-1. 69. Neuville. First time volley after Schneider high cross from right.

Barcelona fell to their first defeat of the season against an organised and efficient Bayer Leverkusen. The Spanish side started strongly though, and Luis Enrique opened the scoring for the Spanish side halfway through the first half, taking a pass from Kluivert in a possible offside position and beating his man before lifting the ball over Butt. A few minutes later Luis Enrique got free again, but this time he was stopped by Sebescen, and then Rochemback fired a shot just wide into the side netting. The German keeper Butt had a chance to get his own back when Andersson was ruled to have fouled Ballack in the area with half an hour on the clock, but the normally steady penalty taker put his spot kick wide of the post.

Bayer brought on Turkish midfielder Bastürk at half time and he revitalized the game, scoring the equalizer seven minutes after the restart. Rexach brought on Saviola, who once again had been left on the bench despite scoring at the weekend, but he was lacking support and hardly got in to the game. By now the home side were in control, and it was no surprise when Neuville was given space to volley home a long cross from Schneider.

Gerard, now recovered from his injury, came on for his first appearance in several months, but it was too late and the German team went on to their second victory in a row. Barcelona have three points from two games, level with Lyon, but with three of their four remaining games at home there is no reason for concern at the moment. They will however be hoping that Rivaldo is fit when matches resume in two weeks time.