Ibrahimovic aims for Champions League title

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 17, 2014 at 5:46 am •  Published: February 17, 2014
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LEVERKUSEN, Germany (AP) — Bayer Leverkusen is aiming to reach its first Champions League quarterfinal in 12 seasons as it host Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie on Tuesday. Here are five things to know about the match:

LEVERKUSEN'S HOPES

The Champions League is the only title Leverkusen can win this season. It is hopelessly 16 points behind Bayern Munich in second place in the Bundesliga and it has been knocked out of the German Cup.

Leverkusen has not reached the last eight of the Champions League since 2002, the year it lost the final to Real Madrid.

Although it has been one of the Bundesliga's top teams since the 1990s, Leverkusen has few titles: it won the UEFA Cup in 1988 and the German Cup in 1993.

Leverkusen lost 10-2 on aggregate to Barcelona in its last foray into the Champions League knockout rounds two years ago.

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IBRAHIMOVIC'S QUEST

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has won 10 domestic championships with six different teams but the Sweden striker is missing the most coveted club trophy, the Champions League.

Ibrahimovic will be missing from the biggest stage too, since Sweden failed to qualify for this summer's World Cup in Brazil.

Winning the Champion League with Paris Saint-Germain would go some way to compensate for sitting out the tournament in Brazil.

Ibrahimovic's eight goals in five matches played a big role in PSG reaching the knockout stage with a game to spare.

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DIFFERENT WEEKENDS

Subsequent losses at home in the German Cup and the Bundesliga have dented Bayer Leverkusen's morale. Still, Leverkusen's coach Sami Hyypia was encouraged by the reaction shown in Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Schalke.

"If we play like this on Tuesday I'll be happy," said Hyypia, whose side was embarrassed 5-0 by Manchester United in its previous Champions League game at home.

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