Benfica hosts struggling Barcelona in the second round of the UEFA Champions League Group E. The hosts snapped one point in Kyiv against Dynamo and are now hoping to add three more against the fallen giant. Blaugrana comes to Lisbon following a 3-0 win over Levante in La Liga, their first after three winless games in a row. Ronald Koeman’s position is not safe anymore, and if by any chance his team loses this event, the Dutch head coach will be fired.
Benfica (+180) didn’t lose this season. They played a dozen games, winning all but two, which were draws, both in the Champions League, one in Eindhoven, and one in Kyiv, having the same result, 0-0.
In all other games, Jorge Jesus’ team was pretty confident, scoring multiple goals and displaying high quality in all play areas. Benfica’s attack is very efficient, and even though they don’t have some flamboyant and aggressive players, the productivity is always high.
When mentioning the efficiency and the number of scores, a vast majority of the Eagles’ matches saw 2 or 3 goals. It is particularly obvious at home, where they won all five games, four of them concluding in this range. They have big problems with injured players, but so far, they’ve accustomed to it.
Barcelona (+150) is facing one of the worst years in its history. Not only did they lose Messi and pilled up more than $1.5 billion in debt, but the atmosphere inside the club is toxic. The team isn’t winning, the head coach is under tremendous pressure, and the fans are slowly turning their backs on this club.
Barca had a negative stretch that started against Bayern, 0-3, and after that extended in the domestic championship against Granada 1-1, and Cadiz, 0-0. Koeman’s destiny was almost sealed after Cadiz, but the board decided to keep him for some reason. Some suggest that Blaugrana couldn’t find a replacement for the Dutch, which only tells that they aren’t attractive anymore.
The five-time European champions played only two competitive games outside Camp Nou this year, and both ended with a draw.
Haris Seferovic is out for the hosts, which is a big blow, and the same applies to Nemanja Radonic. Almeida is ineligible due to personal reasons, while young goalkeeper Svilar sustained an injury and won’t be in the protocol as well.
On the other side, Serio Aguero is out, but that is nothing new. Alba, Balde, Braithwaite, Dembele, Pedri, Sergi Roberto, and Wague are all unavailable.
Head to Head Games
Back in 1961, these teams played in the UCL finals, and Benfica won, 3-2. After that, they met on six more occasions, and the EAgles never triumphed. Barca posted three wins and draws each.
We are not going to make any full-time result predictions but focus on efficiency. A moderate number of goals, 2 or 3 goals, is the best choice because of Benfica’s play style. Barcelona does not have the power to impose its own style of play, like it used to be in the past; therefore, we should see an equal contest at La Luz.
Pick: 2 or 3 goals +105
Here are more previews for this UEFA Champions League round:
- Ajax vs. Besiktas
- PSG vs. Manchester City
- AC Milan vs. Atletico Madrid
- Manchester United vs. Villarreal
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.