Analysis: Leverkusen puzzled over how to stop spectre Ronaldo

Worrying statistical numbers might tell the story of Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen ahead of their away game in group D of the Champions League this Tuesday evening.

The team’s duel against Italian giant Juventus seems all about the question of how to stop the 2015 and 2017 final participants super-star Cristiano Ronaldo.

After having scored 26 goals in 24 Champions League games against German clubs, the 34-year-old Portuguese is called the “spectre” and “bogeyman” by national media.

The concern about the striker’s quality seems out of the question as the 5 times World Footballer of The Year has scored 126 goals in the Champions League and is the competition’s leading scorer.

Ronaldo is one of the world’s best if not the best, but Juventus is not only him, Leverkusen’s managing director Rudi Voeller commented.

The former German international and AS Rome professional called Juve the favorites “in this game as they are one of the sides able to win the competition.” But the 59-year-old is convinced “we are ready to beat one of the big clubs, and we might as well start this Tuesday evening.”

They need to beat us first, Voeller added, calling the duel in Northern Italy “different to all games in the Bundesliga as we won’t have 80 percent of ball-possession, but that might be an advantage.”

While the former striker seems optimistic after Leverkusen lost its 2019/2020 Champions League curtain-raiser on home soil against Locomotive Moscow by 2-1, coach Peter Bosz is puzzling over his back-row.

Jonathan Tah might have to be patient again after the German international missed his outfit’s last two games in the national league and is in danger to lose his place in the starting eleven. While 23-year-old Tah is Leverkusen’s fastest defender has Aleksandar Dragovic performed on the highest level with his side keeping their goal clean.

Tah was side-lined to give him a break after a busy summer with the German national team and the under 21 European Championships.

Leverkusen striker Kevin Volland called it a mind case to face Ronaldo in Juve’s shirt. The 27-year-old demanded to meet the Italian side with “determination, faith, and guts.” It is vital to keep in mind what “we can deliver, and that is a lot,” he said.

The latest satisfying results in the national league are going to give his team the needed confidence to survive in Turin.

Leverkusen’s Dutch coach Bosz is said to pin his hopes upfront on Volland and German wonderboy Kai Havertz. Rumors speak about the 20-year-old as the main target of several top European sides such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Juventus. Turin sports director Fabio Paratici is said to keep a close eye on the midfielder next to Bayern Munich.

A possible deal is said to be worth over 100 million euro after Havertz scored 31 goals in 112 competitive games next to him delivering 23 assists.