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Ivan Rakitic aware of Bayer Leverkusen threat

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic expects Bayer Leverkusen to provide stern opposition in their Champions League clash at Camp Nou.

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has warned his team of the dangers of facing Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The Spanish side opened their Group E campaign with a 1-1 draw against Roma earlier this month, but will be looking to record all three points when they welcome Bayer to Camp Nou.

Rakitic has plenty of experience of facing the Bundesliga team following his four years at Schalke 04, and the Croatian has branded Roger Schmidt's side "very strong and physically at the top level".

"We have a lot of enthusiasm to play our first Champions League game at home, and we have a lot of hope. We want to show to our fans the excitement we have to play this first game," Rakitic told reporters.

"I know this team very well from my time in Germany. At Bayer there's a former teammate from my time at Schalke 04. It's a hard-working team. They are very strong and physically at the top level.

"They won't have any doubt about their game and the match. It will be different to the game against Celta Vigo because each team has different players. We are confident in ourselves that we can learn from our mistakes."

Barcelona are attempting to become the first team to successfully defend the Champions League in its current format.

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