Benfica and Barcelona will both go in search of their first Champions League group stage wins of the season when they lock horns at the Estadio da Luz in Group E on Wednesday night.
Benfica started their 2021-22 Champions League campaign with a goalless draw against Dinamo Zagreb in the Group E opener. The Portuguese outfit dominated the game with 62% possession and 13 shots but an attacking edge in the final third and couldn’t break down a resilient Dinamo Zagreb defense. Benfica are unbeaten this season. They sit top their domestic league table after picking up maximum points from seven matches. They have scored 19 goals so far and conceded only four. Head Coach Jorge Jesus is without Haris Seferovic and Adel Taarabt. Defender Lucas Verissimo is back from suspension and should replace fellow Brazilian Morato in defence alongside Nicolas Otamendi and Jan Vertonghen.
Barcelona amidst financial crisis and injury-stricken squad began their 2021-22 Champions League campaign with a disappointing 3-0 defeat against German champions Bayern Munich. The Catalans started brightly registering three shots in the opening 20 minutes. However, they fell behind in the 34th minute to Thoams Muller shot deflected in past Ter-Stegen. A second-half brace from Robert Lewandowski gave them their first loss of the new champions league campaign. Ronald Koeman will rally his side to overcome a tough Benfica side. Barcelona’s new no. 10 Ansu Fati came off the bench to score during the weekend. Sergio Aguero, Pedri, Ousmanne Dembele, Martin Braithwaite, and Jordi Alba are ruled out with injuries. Frenki De Jong is set to return to the starting XI after missing the game at the weekend.
Benfica have scored over 2.5 goals in four of their last five games. They have scored in nine of their last 10 home Champions League games. Barcelona has lost just one of their last ten away games. They also won 2-0 in their last meeting with Benfica. Barcelona will have to do more attack wise to break down a solid Benfica side. A narrow win for Barcelona could be on the cards here.
PREDICTION: BARCA 0-1/0-2/1-2 WIN
ACCUMULATOR TIP: OVER 1.5