Barcelona lead Bayer Leverkusen at halftime at home, leaving the color commentator on the international English-language feed of the game to ask whether or not Bayer should even bother to go to the Camp Nou. Now that the Blaugranas have an away goal? No, not really, but the hosts will probably play out these final 45 minutes today, then travel as well. Their UEFA Champions League life is just about gone, as Barcelona leads 1-0 at halftime.
Bayer unsurprisingly started the game in a very defensive fashion, but it was a bit startling that they didn't look the least bit interested in attacking. Their midfield was more or less a line five yards in front of the defense, and lone striker Andre Schürrle played most of the first half inside of his own half of the pitch.
Barcelona struggled to create chances for most of the half because of this setup. Their best chance before the goal came in the 13th minute, when Lionel Messi played a great give-and-go with Daniel Alves. It appeared that Messi was going to be set up for a tap-in, but Daniel Schwaab made a great last second clearance.
The goal finally came in the 41st minute, with Messi providing a fantastic assist for Alexis Sanchez. With the Bayer defense somehow too far up the pitch, Messi hit a fantastic pass over the top of them for Sanchez to run onto. He burned the back four and got onto the ball, then slipped it between the legs of Bernd Leno and into the back of the net.
For more on the Blaugranas, check out FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.