Hitz backing Bayer

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Aston Villa's German international Thomas Hitzlsperger believes that Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen will have the upper hand in their UEFA Champions League duel with Liverpool.

Three years ago Leverkusen ended Liverpool's Champions League dream in the quarter finals by making up for a 1-0 defeat at Anfield with a 4-2 win at the BayArena and Hitzlsperger doubts that The Reds will exact revenge this time.

"It will be a very tight race as both teams are almost on the same level, but within two games the better team will get through and that's Leverkusen," the 22-year-old told Kicker.

Hitzlsperger is a fan of Reds coach Rafa Benitez and believes he should be given time to bring success to Anfield.

"Benitez is a good coach, but he hasn't finished a full season yet and his reconstruction will need some time," added Hitzlsperger.

"They had to integrate many new players and especially the Spaniards have not fully settled yet, while Liverpool's self-confidence might have been rattled by their poor performances in The Premiership and the FA Cup, where their defence had some problems."