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UEFA Champions League

  • March 27, 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz), Lisboa
  • Referee: P. Tagliavento
  • • Attendance: 60000

Benfica - Chelsea Preview: Ramires and David Luiz return to former club as Blues search for first away win

The Eagles are unbeaten at the Estadio da Luz in this season's Champions League, with Roberto Di Matteo's side struggling to find victories on the road in the 2011-12 competition



Pereira, Luisao, Jardel, Emerson
Javi Garcia
Gaitan, Witsel, Bruno Cesar
Cardozo, Rodrigo


Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole
Lampard, Essien
Sturridge, Mata, Ramires

Pablo Aimar came off of the bench only to receive a red card against Olhanense at the weekend so Jorge Jesus may choose to stick with Nicolas Gaitan, Axel Witsel and Bruno Cesar in midfield.

Nelson Oliveira will compete with Rodrigo for a place in the Benfica attack, with the latter boasting a stronger goal scoring record this season.

Defender Ezequiel Garay and striker Yannick Djalo will be missing due to injury.

Roberto Di Matteo is hoping Branislav Ivanovic can recover from a thigh injury in time to feature but if not Jose Bosingwa will start at right-back. In the centre of defence David Luiz could return at the expense of Gary Cahill against his old club.

Otherwise Di Matteo is unlikely to sway too much from the side that beat Napoli in the previous round. Didier Drogba will probably be preferred to Fernando Torres in attack while Raul Meireles is also in contention for a place in midfield.

  • Benfica had not suffered defeat in the league until they lost to Guimaraes in February. That match was the first of a run of three games without victory, including a 3-2 loss to Porto, who now top the table.
  • Striker Rodrigo has bagged eight goals in the league for Benfica this season but scored just once in 17 matches while on loan with Bolton Wanderers from Real Madrid during the 2010-11 campaign.
  • The Eagles overturned a 3-2 first leg deficit to progress past Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg in the previous round.
  • Chelsea will meet Benfica on Tuesday for the first time. Portuguese sides have not been kind to their English counterparts this season; Sporting Lisbon knocked Manchester City out of the Europa League while Benfica played a part in Manchester United's Champions League elimination.
  • The Blues do have two former Eagles players in their ranks to help them out on the night. David Luiz and Ramires were teammates in Lisbon before joining Chelsea.
  • Chelsea have not won away from home in the Champions League this season. They lost games against Napoli and Bayer Leverkusen and drew with Genk and Valencia.
  • They will feel confident if they are able to keep the score close in Portugal, however, having won all four of their home fixtures in the competition this season.

Players to watch

A. Witsel

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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Part of Belgium's 'golden generation', the midfielder has been linked with a potential move to Chelsea in the summer and he could be handed the reins in midfield on Tuesday night. At only 23, there will be a tremendous amount of responsibility placed on his shoulders if he does indeed go up against the likes of Frank Lampard and Michael Essien in the centre of the park.


Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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Both of Chelsea's former Benfica players will have important roles to play at the Estadio da Luz – David Luiz in helping John Terry deal with Oscar Cardozo, and Ramires in making an impact in his new left-sided position. The Brazilian will be tasked with keeping a lid on right-back Maxi Pereira as well as supporting the attack – the Uruguayan scored in both legs of Benfica's last 16 tie against Zenit St. Petersburg.

Editor's Prediction

Chelsea's away record in the Champions League this season has not been strong and Benfica should edge this encounter but the Blues will remain optimistic if they can keep it close and grab an away goal. They have shown more resilience since Roberto Di Matteo took over as manager and should be capable of keeping themselves in the tie ahead of the second leg.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head




Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

SL Benfica SLB
SL Benfica Benfica
Chelsea FC CHE
Chelsea FC Chelsea

Top 3 Predictions

SL Benfica SLB
0 - 2
Chelsea FC CHE
SL Benfica SLB
1 - 2
Chelsea FC CHE
SL Benfica SLB
1 - 3
Chelsea FC CHE