Benfica battle Barcelona on Wednesday evening in the Champions League. Who will emerge victorious?
Benfica and Barcelona will both go in search of their first UEFA Champions League (UCL) group stage wins of this campaign when they go head to head at the Estadio da Luz in Group E on Wednesday night. Jorge Jesus’ side played out a goalless draw with Dynamo Kyiv in the opening fixture, whereas an unusually inept Barcelona were outplayed in a 0-3 defeat to Bayern Munich, which left boss Ronald Koeman scratching his head.
Despite currently serving a lengthy domestic ban, Adel Taarabt is available for Champions League selection, while Roman Yaremchuk will start in Benfica’s attack, as Haris Seferovic is expected to remain on Benfica’s injury list until after the international break.
Rafa Silva and Darwin Nunez look likely to keep their places in the wide areas against the Catalan giants, despite the fact that Pizzi and Everton have recently been pushing them hard for their spots.
Barcelona will have to continue to survive without long-term injury victims Ousmane Dembele, Martin Braithwaite. and Sergio Aguero. Jordi Alba is also likely to be sidelined after he was forced to come off against Bayern. However, Ansu Fati made his long-awaited comeback against Levante last weekend.
Sergi Roberto has gastrointestinal problems and Alejandro Balde is suffering from back issues, and both are also uncertain, but Pedri is reported to be possibly fit enough for a return in this fixture.
Frenkie de Jong will displace either Nico Gonzalez or Gavi or in the visitors’ midfield, while Sergino Dest will remain in the left-back position if Alba and Balde are deemed not fit enough to play.
This Barcelona are perhaps not the team they were, but they should still have enough for Benfica. We predict 2-0 to the Catalans!