Benfica vs Barcelona
UEFA Champions League
Date: 29 September 2021, Wednesday
Kick-off at 20:00 UK/ 21:00 CET
Venue: Estadio La Luz (Lisbon).
Barcelona is a team in decline, and their deterioration might be visible in their match against Primeira Liga leaders Benfica.
Sergio Aguero, Ousmane Dembele, Martin Braithwaite, Sergi Roberto, Jordi Alba, and Pedri are all out due to injuries, and Ronald Koeman is having to make do without them.
The Catalan giants beat Levante 3-0 at home on Sunday, relieving some of the pressure on their Dutch manager, but it would be premature to say they have turned the corner.
Prior to that crucial victory, Barca had been reduced to draws in La Liga by Granada and Cadiz, and they showed little fight in a 3-0 loss at home to Bayern on matchday one, failing to record a shot on goal.
Benfica, who have won seven of their last seven games in Portugal, appear to be more solid under Jorge Jesus and should be confident in their prospects against a vulnerable Barcelona.
Benfica vs Barcelona Head-to-head
The last head-to-head meeting between Barcelona and Benfica happened during the 2012/13 Champions League group stage. The Blaugrana bagged a 2-0 win at this ground before settling for a goal-less draw in the reverse.
Barca are unbeaten in the last 6 meetings with Benfica, 3 wins and 3 draws.
Benfica’s only win against Barcelona happened when they faced off in the European Champions Clubs’ Cup final of 1961. The full-time scoreline on that occasion was 3-2.
The Aguias have a poor record against Spanish La Liga clubs. At home, they managed to win just 2 of 11 while they drew 5 and lost 4.
Barcelona have an excellent overall record against Portuguese clubs, though the record as in Portugal is moderate with 5 wins, 3 draws and 4 losses in 12 games.
Benfica vs Barcelona Prediction
I’m undecided on how I feel about this one. The win against Levante was fantastic, but Koeman’s club is prone to inconsistency, and Benfica are capable of making life difficult for Barça. But I’ll keep my hopes up: 2-1 for the good people.
Juventus vs Chelsea lineups
Benfica’s starting line-up (3-4-3): Odysseas Vlachodimos; Lucas Verissimo, Nicolas Otamendi, Jan Vertonghen; Valentino Lazaro, Julian Weigl, Joao Mario, Alex Grimaldo; Rafa Silva, Darwin Nunez, Roman Yaremchuk.
Barcelona’s starting line-up (5-3-2): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Ronald Araujo, Gerard Pique, Eric Garcia, Sergino Dest; Pedri, Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong; Luuk de Jong, Memphis Depay.