Iberian neighbours Benfica and Barcelona cross paths in the Champions League on Wednesday night in what is a huge game at the Estadio da Luz. The visiting Blaugrana are under immense pressure right now, with the Eagles potentially licking their lips at the prospect of a famous European night.
Where and when: Estadio da Luz – 29 September, kick-off 20:00
Where you can see Benfica vs. Barcelona: BT Sport
Last time: This will be the first meeting between the clubs since they shared a goalless draw at the Nou Camp in the Champions League group stage in 2012.
Benfica v Barcelona Predictions and Preview
Barcelona are a club in turmoil. Coach Ronald Koeman is feeling the heat, and the Catalan giants will be very wary of Benfica’s ability to torch their Champions League campaign in this fixture. The Eagles have made an excellent start to the new season, with the opposite true for Barca.
Benfica won all six of their opening Primeira Liga matches, ahead of their trip to Vitoria Guimaraes at the weekend. Jorge Jesus’s side drew 0-0 away to Dinamo Kiev in their Champions League opener, which was a decent enough result for the Portuguese outfit.
Barca, on the other hand, were taught a lesson by Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on matchday one. The Blaugrana were completely outclassed on their own turf, going down 3-0 to Die Roten. Things haven’t been much better in La Liga for the club either.
They may have gone through their first five league games of the season unbeaten, ahead of their home game against Levante on Sunday, but the Catalans have played some turgid football on the way to just two wins and three draws from their opening five fixtures.
Koeman is up against it, while pre-prepared statements and begging for time based on this current Barcelona side being nothing like the ones of yesteryear is not a good look. The best thing the Dutch coach can do right now of course is to put together a run of convincing wins.
The away team are the 33/20 favourites to start along that road by picking up the victory in this Benfica v Barcelona preview. The hosts aren’t too far behind though at 19/10, showing just how far Barca’s standing has fallen in the European game.
Another draw wouldn’t do much for the visitors, although given the circumstances, Benfica may not be too happy with a point either at 5/2. With Barca missing players such as Pedri, Jordi Alba, Ansu Fati, Sergio Aguero and Ousmane Dembele, and the hosts only without Andre Almeida, the Eagles could well soar in this game.
One to watch for Benfica: Darwin Nunez has been on fire in recent matches, netting braces against both Santa Clara and Boavista either side of Benfica’s goalless draw in Kiev. The 22-year-old Uruguay international could be tempting at 7/1 to open the scoring on Wednesday night.
One to watch for Barcelona: Memphis Depay has made a decent start to his Barca career, netting a couple of important goals before banging in five in three games for the Netherlands during the international break. He is 11/2 to break the deadlock in these Benfica v Barcelona predictions.
Long shot: A home win is not the same sort of long shot it would’ve been in previous seasons. The hosts are 11/1 to win 2-1 as part of your Benfica v Barcelona tips, rising to 79/1 with Nunez scoring first.