Benfica will take on Barcelona for Matchday 2 of Group E of the UEFA Champions League 2021-22. Jorge Jesus’s men are set to host Barcelona in the competitive fixture at the Estadio da Luz. Can Barcelona turn the tables around?
A week ago, Bayern repeated history and beat Barcelona 3-0. The Catalan side saw the German giants dominate and take another win home which reminded them of the last season’s bitter memories. After, losing Messi over the summer transfer, things did not seem to fall into place. Currently, Barcelona sits at the bottom of the Group E table while their opponent Benfica is in second position. With pressure growing on the shoulders of Ronald Koeman, the youthful Barcelona side will need to make the required comeback they have been looking for. Barcelona also continue to cope without long term injury-ridden players Aguero and Dembele. Jordi Alba is likely to miss out after coming off in the game against Bayern. Ansu Fati made his comeback in La Liga against Levante, a game that Barcelona won comprehensively. And to add to that he marked his return with a goal.
Despite losing the game 3-0, Barca created high xT from multiple areas in the opposition half. Both Memphis Depay and Jordi Alba created high xT from their passes. This indicates that Barca lacked the end product required to justify their high xT.
We can similarly see in the above stat, few of the Barca players were threatening with their dribbling. Memphis Depay created the highest xT from his dribbles, 0.026.
Benfica are currently top of the Primeira Liga, with seven wins from seven matches. They worked resolutely to reach the Champions League this season and will need to prove their worth in their group. The Portuguese outfit played out a 0-0 draw against Dynamo Kyiv in their previous match in the Champions League. Benfica would be looking to make amends in this match. They have never defeated Barca in the Champions League. Seferovic and Svilar are both set out to miss the fixture through an injury. Goncalves remains doubtful as well.
Benfica are placed third in terms of successful passes into the final third while their average successful passes per 90 places them in second position.
Benfica are similarly placed high in terms of successful progressive passes per 90 and successful progressive passes.
Benfica (3-4-3) – Odysseas Vlachodimos; Jan Vertonghen, Lucas Verissimo, Nicolas Otamendi; Gilberto, Alejandro Grimaldi, Joao Mario, Julian Weigl; Rafa, Darwin Nunez, Roman Yaremchuk
Barcelona (4-3-3) – Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Ronald Araujo, Gerard Pique, Sergino Dest, Oscar Mingueza; Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Gavi; Memphis Depay, Philippe Coutinho, Luuk de Jong
Barcelona under Ronald Koeman have been below par this season. Although Ansu Fati’s return does offer some much-needed reprieve for his side. Benfica with good home records, should not be underestimated. A 1-1 draw is a much likely scenario for this fixture.