Cyprus Mail
Champions League Sport

Cards stacked against Benfica for Bayern trip

Whether it be Bayern's home record in Europe this season, their record against Portuguese teams or simply the head-to-head record between the Bavarians and Benfica, all the numbers point overwhelmingly to a Bayern win in the first leg

A quick look at past and current form might have Benfica wondering whether it is worth even turning up for their Champions League quarter-final tie at Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Whether it be Bayern’s home record in Europe this season, their record against Portuguese teams or simply the head-to-head record between the Bavarians and Benfica, all the numbers point overwhelmingly to a Bayern win in the first leg.

Benfica will be all too aware that their great rivals Porto also faced Bayern at the same stage of the competition last year and were trounced 6-1 at the Allianz Area after shipping five goals in a 22-minute spell in the first half.

In fact, Bayern have won all nine of their previous two-legged knockout ties against Portuguese opposition, including three against Benfica.
Their previous three home games against Benfica ended in one 5-1 and two 4-1 wins, and their overall record against the Eagles is four wins and two draws in six games.

Current form makes even worse reading for Benfica: Bayern have won all four home Champions League games this season, blasting 18 goals in the process.
However, Benfica, who won the old European Cup twice back in the 1960s, have made a habit of defying the odds in their first season under coach Rui Vitoria.

“Bayern are really difficult opponents but this team has already got over several barriers this season,” he said after Friday’s 5-1 league win over Braga.
“This team has achieved things which it appeared impossible to achieve and that is the spirit we will take into the game,” said Vitoria, whose side are looking to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1990.

Vitoria looked as if he would last only a few weeks in the job after Benfica began the season by losing three times to neighbours Sporting and were beaten by arch-rivals Porto.

Instead, they now find themselves five points clear at the top of the league and in the Champions League quarter-finals after winning 19 of their last 20 games in all competitions.

Their win over Zenit St Petersburg seemed highly unlikely when they were forced to take a makeshift defence to Russia to defend a 1-0 lead in the second leg, yet they came through with a 2-1 win.

Benfica boldly took the tie to their opponents in the first half of that game and may try to do so again on Tuesday.
Especially as Bayern have an injury crisis in defence, where Jerome Boateng and Holger Badstuber are ruled out and Medhi Benatia and Javi Martinez are doubtful.

Juventus showed in the previous round that Bayern can be vulnerable as they went 2-0 ahead inside half an hour. However, Bayern’s comeback, where they scored four goals to win 4-2 after extra time, was yet another ominous example of their strength at home.

“There’s not a lot to say,” said Vitoria after the draw was made. “It’s an incredibly difficult tie.”

Related Posts

Brazil soccer legend Pele hospitalized again to treat colon tumor

Reuters News Service

Eight Tottenham players and five staff members positive for Covid, Conte says

Press Association

Changes made to Abu Dhabi circuit ahead of F1 season finale

Press Association

Serena out of Australian Open, Djokovic on entry list

Reuters News Service

No team will want to draw Ajax in Champions League, says coach

Reuters News Service

Klopp proud of Liverpool’s clean sweep in Champions League group

Reuters News Service