Aspirin-backed Leverkusen has a perpetual headache

CIARAN FAHEY Associated Press Published:

BERLIN (AP) -- When Michael Ballack described Bayer Leverkusen as a "land of milk and honey for the players," he was highlighting what he sees as an inner malaise at his club.

Despite boasting excellent facilities and the backing of one of the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies, Leverkusen is the perpetual runner-up.

Last year the German club finished second in the Bundesliga for the fifth time in 14 seasons, during which it also lost a Champions League final and two German Cup finals.

Ballack says a lack of ambition is to blame for Leverkusen's consistent failures at the last hurdle.

On Tuesday in the Champions League, its ambition will be fully tested against Barcelona, the defending Spanish league, European and world champions.