Going up against the French champions, who reached the quarter-finals in last season's competition, will be the biggest challenge Leverkusen have faced in Europe so far this season, but the club are relishing the prospect of welcoming their visitors' household names to the BayArena.
"We're going into the game with a lot of confidence," said captain . "Paris may be favourites, but that doesn't concern us." Curiously enough, Leverkusen will take heart from their defeat at home to FC Schalke 04 at the weekend after putting in a strong performance that merited more than a defeat.
"If we play like we did on Saturday, we're capable of making life difficult for Paris," said coach Sami Hyypiä, who welcomes Sidney Sam back into his squad after leaving the midfielder out against his future employers at the weekend. "We're going to have to give 100 per cent," the Finn continued, with one eye on how to handle their visitors' talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
"He's a good player, one of the best in the world," Hyypiä warned. "But all of their players are quality. They've brought in a lot of top-class players." That includes last year's Italian Serie A top goalscorer Edinson Cavani, who misses the first leg due to injury, and one of the world's most respected defenders in Thiago Silva. Javier Pastore, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Thiago Motta and Marco Verratti also feature in a star-studded ensemble, although Hyypiä and Co are far from intimidated.
"We've just got to concentrate on ourselves and make sure we give our all, both mentally and physically," the coach said. With Sam set to return to the side, Heung-Min Son may drop to the bench. Stefan Kießling, an ever-present for Leverkusen in Europe this season, is assured of his place, with Paris coach Laurent Blanc aware he is Leverkusen's dangerman. "He's an absolute crown jewel," said the Frenchman. "But he's not the only one we've got to watch out for." The respect is clearly mutual.
Leverkusen: Leno - Hilbert, Spahic, Toprak, Boenisch - Bender, Reinartz, Rolfes - Sam, Kießling, Castro
Paris: Sirigu - van der Wiel, Alex, Thiago Silva, Maxwell - Verratti, Matuidi - Lucas Moura, Ibrahimovic, Pastore