Bayer ready for crucial test
Leverkusen have failed in their last seven attempts to beat Iberian opposition, but if they are to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition, they need to re-address that issue over the next fortnight. They host Valencia at the BayArena on Wednesday night before travelling to the Mestalla in a fortnight and, according to Rudi Voller, the German club's director of sport, both teams will be battling for second place in the group behind favourites Chelsea. "Valencia are our main rivals for second place," he is quoted as saying in Sport.de. "These two games are going to be decisive." However, last season's Bundesliga runners-up are not really blessed with serenity at present. Most of the questions at the pre-match press conference today centred on coach Robin Dutt's relationship with his players amid rumours of divisions. "My position is not being questioned by anybody at the club," said a defiant Dutt. "The team is being penned into a corner and this is not fair. "I don't think they would run 140 miles in a game if they couldn't care less about their coach." He instead tried to turn the focus on tomorrow night's important fixture. "We are second in the table and we want to defend this position," he said. "Valencia are one of Europe's top teams, but we are playing at home and we want to win." Michael Ballack could therefore be a key figure for the hosts, given his history in the competition with Bayern Munich and Chelsea. "Experience is important in a Champions League game, just as long as the players are fully fit," Dutt said. "He (Ballack) has been looking very fresh." Valencia left behind the warmth of Spain and arrived in Germany today to meet cold and wet weather this afternoon. However, that has not dampened the spirits of defender Miguel Brito, who said his side has only one thing on its mind. "Our objective is to get the best result we can and that means to win," he is reported by superdeporte.es as saying. "If we want to still have any chance of reaching the knockout stages then this match in Germany is key and we must win. "We are aware that it is an important match and that we have to win or at least score. "German sides are very competitive and we are going to have to be prepared." Coach Unai Emery has taken a squad of 24 players with him to Germany as Valencia look for their first win in Group E after drawing their first two games.