Bayern travel to Lisbon in this UEFA Champions League (UCL) clash on Wednesday night. Can Benfica stop the mighty men from Munich?
Benfica and Bayern Munich will both be hoping to maintain their unbeaten starts to the 2021-22 UCL when they do battle at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon on Wednesday in Group E. The hosts sit second in the group having taken four points from their opening two games, while Julian Nagelsmann’s side are sitting pretty at the top of the group on 6 points.
Last weekend, Bayern thrashed Bayer Leverkusen 5-1 in the Bundesliga. Jorge Jesus’ Benfica came away from Trofense with a 2-1 victory in the Portuguese Primeira Liga.
In squad news, Benfica wing-back Gil Das had to come off before half-time in Saturday’s win against Trofense, and his replacement Valentino Lazaro was also forced off with a muscular issue and will miss this game.
Frontman Haris Seferovic is also struggling with a muscle injury but would be unlikely to displace Roman Yaremchuck or Nunez anyway. Boss Jorge Jesus is likely to go back to the attacking formula that achieved a memorable victory over Barcelona.
Lazaro started at right-wing back in that game, but he should be replaced by Gilberto. However, André Almeida will hope to come into contention following his goal at the weekend against Trofense.
Meanwhile, Alphonso Davies came off after 40 minutes against Bayer Leverkusen due to thigh pain last Saturday. The Canadian left-back is an injury concern for the German champions.
It’s not certain if Davies will be passed fit this week, so Lucas Hernandez could be moved over to the left-hand side, with the Frenchman playing at the weekend despite now having until October 28 to voluntarily enter prison for a six-month sentence for breaking a restraining order.
On the other side of defence, Benjamin Pavard is due to return from suspension and take his rightful place at right-back, and Nagelsmann should spring no surprises after being able to take several of his superstars off early against Leverkusen.
Bayern Munich have been unplayable in almost every game this campaign and are already being tipped as potential UCL winners. However, this will be their toughest test yet.
With an in-form Nunez leading the line, Jesus’ side have the attacking power needed to break down the Bavarians’ defence, but Bayern should be able to exploit an ageing Benfica backline to storm to another convincing win. Our prediction is 3-1 to Nagelsmann’s side.