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UEFA Champions League

  • December 5, 2012
  • • 2:45 PM
  • • Camp Nou, Barcelona
  • Referee: S. Moen
  • • Attendance: 50659
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Champions League Preview: Barcelona - Benfica

The Lisbon side last won across the border in 1982 and may well need a repeat of that success on Wednesday to ensure a place in the last 16.

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

BARCELONA

Valdes
Montoya, Pique, Puyol, Alba
Fabregas, Busquets, Iniesta
Pedro, Messi, Villa
BENFICA
Porto
Artur
M. Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Melgarejo
Salvio, Matic, Gaitan, Perez
Lima, Cardozo

Benfica will need to at least equal Celtic's result against Spartak Moscow if it is to qualify from Champions League Group G alongside Barcelona, which has already been confirmed as group winner.

But Barcelona is expected to name a strong lineup, with Lionel Messi still expected to feature as he chases Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year.

Martin Montoya may start at right back as Dani Alves remains sidelined through injury, while Xavi is likely to be given a rest so Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta will line up in midfield. This will enable David Villa to move into the starting lineup, attacking from the left with Pedro from the right.

Knowing it may well need to pick up its first win against Spanish opposition in 30 years, Benfica will name its strongest possible XI. Oscar Cardozo will lead the line alongside Lima, and Nicolas Gaitan will play at the tip of a diamond midfield between the duo.

Luisao will make just his second appearance in this season's competition following his two-month suspension for pushing over a referee in preseason.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Whenever these two clubs have met, the winner has gone on to be European champion, beginning with Bela Guttmann's Benfica side in 1961.
  • The Eagles have won none of their previous 13 fixtures against Spanish opposition, not picking up a win since victory against Real Betis in the 1982 UEFA Cup.
  • Ezequiel Garay (pictured, right) featured for Real Madrid as los Blancos defeated the Catalan side in the 2011 Copa del Rey final.
  • After beating the Blaugrana in the 1961 final, Benfica retained its trophy the following with a 5-3 triumph over Real Madrid.
  • Barcelona has emerged victorious in their previous 10 encounters at home versus Portuguese opponents. 
  • Lionel Messi's double on matchday 5 saw him equal Ruud Van Nistelrooy's 56 Champions League goals. Only Raul now lies above the Argentine with 71 strikes in the competition.
  • Victor Valdes, Javier Mascherano and Messi are the only players to have featured for their side for every minute in Europe this season.
  • Barcelona secured its place in the 1992 final with a 2-1 win over a Benfica side coached by Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Barcelona

Benfica

Wins
2
2
0
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

FC Barcelona FCB
FC Barcelona Barcelona
Draw
SL Benfica SLB
SL Benfica Benfica
86%

Top 3 Predictions

FC Barcelona FCB
3 - 0
SL Benfica SLB
FC Barcelona FCB
3 - 1
SL Benfica SLB
FC Barcelona FCB
4 - 0
SL Benfica SLB

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