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Soccer-Last tango in Paris but Leverkusen will fight - coach

Reuters

By Julien Pretot

PARIS, March 11 (Reuters) - Bayer Leverkusen will resist the option of fielding a second-string team despite taking an almost insurmountable 4-0 deficit to Paris St Germain on Wednesday for their Champions League last-16 second leg.

"We cannot just throw this game away because otherwise we can go ahead and send the Under-23 team," Leverkusen coach Sami Hyypia told reporters.

"I am really looking forward to the game and every player should feel the same."

The former Liverpool defender's team have been struggling since the winter break, a German Cup exit to second division Kaiserslautern last month followed by three straight Bundesliga defeats.

"This is a challenge and we have to put in a good performance. I am a fighter and I hope my team has the same approach," said Finn Hyypia.

Leverkusen are without midfielder Jens Hegeler who tore ankle ligaments in the 1-1 draw against Hanover 96 on Saturday and is out for the rest of the season.

"As far as the Champions League is concerned we are out," said keeper Bernd Leno who saved a penalty and was outstanding against Hanover. "But that does not mean we want to go and get slaughtered in Paris."

PSG have been in rampant form since their first-leg rout, netting nine goals in three Ligue 1 outings.

Laurent Blanc's side have won their last five matches in all competitions. Led by talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they have scored 16 goals and conceded twice.

The Sweden striker already has 38 goals in all competitions this season - more than one-third of PSG's tally (102).

"We have many alternatives. When one player goes out, another comes in and it's still the same rhythm, the same quality, and that is what a big team is about," said Ibrahimovic.

PSG will have striker Edinson Cavani back after he spent time in Uruguay dealing with a personal issue.

"I hope he will be fit for Wednesday," said Blanc who may use the game to make some fine-tuning to his team.

The coach is especially keen to get more out of midfielder Marco Verratti.

"Marco must be more efficient offensively," said Blanc. (Additional reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Tony Jimenez)

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