Barcelona host Benfica at the Nou Camp in a monster Champions League Group E clash. The result of this game will have huge ramifications for who secures qualification to the knockout rounds.
Where and when: Nou Camp – 23 November, kick-off 20:00
Where you can see Barcelona vs. Benfica: BT Sport
Last time: Benfica eased to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Barcelona when the teams met at the Estadio da Luz towards the end of September.
Barcelona v Benfica Predictions and Preview
Barcelona were awful when these clubs met earlier in this group, but the Blaugrana have since sacked Ronald Koeman and installed legendary midfielder Xavi as their new head coach. This is the Barca boss’s second game in charge of the Catalan giants, and it promises to be a fascinating one.
The home team go into this game two points ahead of Benfica after four fixtures in Group E. Given Barcelona play Bayern Munich away in their final fixture and Benfica are at home to Dynamo Kiev, there’s a massive need for the Blaugrana to get a result in this game.
Looking at those upcoming fixtures, even a draw for Barca in this match would leave them hugely vulnerable to being knocked out of the Champions League. The stalemate on Tuesday is priced at 10/3, while the hosts are 16/25 to get the win they so very much need.
It’s an incredibly interesting time at the Nou Camp, with a far more positive mood following Xavi’s long-awaited arrival as coach. The style of play was awful under Koeman, and that is the first thing the new boss needs to sort out. He doesn’t have much time, but we expect there to be a new manager bounce of some sorts.
That makes the away team tough to back at 9/2 in this Barcelona v Benfica preview, even if they were so comfortable against the Catalans less than two months ago. The Eagles are having a better time of it domestically than Barca, but the Blaugrana still have plenty of talent, if they can sort out their tactics and patterns of play.
Unfortunately for Xavi though, teenage prodigy Ansu Fati’s injury problems are continuing, and he misses this game due to a hamstring problem. Sergino Dest is another of the home players out, along with Sergio Aguero as the Argentine fights for his career in the face of a heart problem.
Visiting manager Jorge Jesus expects to have the previously injured quartet of Rodrigo Pinho, Andre Almeida, Gil Dias and Valentino Lazaro available for this tough trip to Catalonia. That would leave only Joao Mario and Lucas Verissimo as Benfica’s two injury absentees.
One to watch for Barcelona: Memphis Depay is one of the few players to impress so far this season for Barca. The Dutch international is the 15/2 favourite to open the scoring in these Barcelona v Benfica predictions.
One to watch for Benfica: Darwin Nunez scored a brace against Barca in the reverse fixture and has eight goals in 13 appearances in all competitions so far this season. He is 7/1 to break the deadlock on Tuesday night.
Long shot: Barca have been poor defensively this season, and they’ll probably need to score at least a couple to win this game. The hosts are 21/10 to win with both teams scoring, while a 2-1 Blaugrana victory is 31/4 in these Barcelona v Benfica tips. If you add Depay scoring first, those odds rise to 37/1.