Champions League Preview: Benfica - Barcelona

Martin Macdonald
Champions League Preview: Benfica - Barcelona

 Pereira, Garay, Jardel, Melgarejo
 Salvio, Aimar, Enzo Perez, Gaitan
Rodrigo, Lima


Dani Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Abidal

Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
Cesc, Messi, Villa

Benfica will be without talismanic striker Oscar Cardozo, who has been ruled out of the Champions League encounter with a muscle injury. Manager Jorge Jesus will likely turn to Rodrigo Lima to feature in attack as the Brazilian bagged a brace against Pacos Ferreira at the weekend.

Also missing for the Portuguese side is Brazilian defender Luisao who is currently serving a two-month ban from football after pushing a referee in a preseason friendly match.

Barcelona has been rocked by the news this week that Thiago Alcantara will be out for two months after rupturing his knee ligaments in the 3-2 win over Sevilla on Saturday.

However, Tito Vilanova has received some good news heading into the vital group stage match on Tuesday. Carles Puyol, Andres Iniesta and Adriano have all been passed fit and took part in a full training session on Sunday. Gerard Pique will likely miss the match as he is still recovering from injury.

  • Benfica has not defeated a Spanish side on home turf for 30 years.
  • Benfica and Barcelona both go into the match having enjoyed an unbeaten start in their respective domestic leagues.
  • Whenever these two clubs have met, the winner has gone on to lift the European Cup, starting with Bela Guttmann's Benfica in the 1961 final in Berne.
  • During the four-year reign of Tito Vilanova's predecessor, Josep Guardiola, Barcelona lost three of 24 UEFA Champions League away fixtures, winning 11 and drawing 10.
  • Barcelona's record in Portugal is W3 D3 L4, with the last defeat coming at Os Belenenses in the 1987/88 UEFA Cup first round. The club still progressed 2-1 on aggregate.
  • Barcelona's latest meeting with Portuguese opposition ended in a 2-0 victory over Porto in the 2011 UEFA Super Cup.