Preview: Benfica vs Maccabi Haifa – prediction, team news, rosters
Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s Champions League clash between Benfica and Maccabi Haifa, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Benfica host Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League tuesday.
The Portuguese side pushed Liverpool all the way in last season’s quarter-finals, while Maccabi Haifa qualified for the group stage for the first time since the 2009-10 campaign.
After finishing third in the Portuguese Primeira Liga last season, Benfica look serious this time around, having won their first five league games.
Roger SchmidtThe team showed tremendous character to claim a 2-1 win over Vizela on Friday night, with Joao MarioThe 101st-minute penalty capped a dramatic final in which the Eagles received two red cards in injury time.
Schmidt, who left PSV Eindhoven to succeed Jorge Jesus earlier this summer guided his new side past FC Midtjylland and Dynamo Kyiv in the qualifying rounds to ensure Benfica reached the group stage, giving themselves a chance for another fine performance after their surprise run to the quarters finals last time.
It may be more difficult without Darwin Nunez after last season’s top scorer left for Liverpool during the transfer window, albeit in Goncalo Ramos they have a capable assistant who can lead the line to a high level.
With Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus alongside them in Group H, Benfica are under considerable pressure to take a maximum of six points from their two matches against their next opponents if they are to have a realistic chance of winning. reach the round of 16 again.
Indeed, it will only be the third time the Israeli champions have taken part in the Champions League group stage, having impressively beaten Olympiacos, Apollon Limassol and Red Star Belgrade to achieve it.
In a group including Bayern Munich, Juventus and Bordeaux, the Greens failed to earn a single point last time they competed at this stage of Europe’s elite competition, remarkably losing five of their six matches on the same score of 1-0.
The head coach Barak Bakharwho led Hapoel Beersheba successfully between 2015 and 2020, hopes his side can repeat that kind of competitiveness 13 years later, albeit this time with at least a positive result or two to show for it.
Saturday’s dramatic victory against Bakhar’s former club will certainly have boosted their confidence ahead of their trip to Lisbon on Tuesday, with Frantzdy PierrotThe stoppage-time goal sealed a crucial win for his team.
Benfica Champions League form:
Benfica form (all competitions):
Maccabi Haifa Champions League form:
Form of Maccabi Haifa (all competitions):
Benfica remains without Joe Victor and Lucas Verissimo due to muscle and knee injuries respectively, leaving them a bit light in the center back.
However, John Brooks could make his debut for the club after joining on a free transfer from Wolfsburg on transfer deadline day, with Schmidt otherwise unlikely to make any changes to the starting XI which narrowly beat Vizela on Friday.
Maccabi Haifa, meanwhile, will travel to Portugal without Raz Meir and Mahmoud Jaber due to hip and leg injuries respectively.
Bakhar could name the same team that picked up an impressive win over Beersheba last time out, meaning Pierrot could be reduced to making an impact from the bench again.
Benfica’s possible starting line-up:
Vlachodimos; Gilberto, Otamendi, Broos, Grimaldo; Fernandez, Luis; Neres, Silva, Mario; Ramos
Possible starting line-up of Maccabi Haifa:
Cohen; Eliyahu, Goldberg, Arad, Menahem; Fani, Mohamed, Levi; David, Rukavytsya, Chibota
We say: Benfica 3-0 Maccabi Haifa
Benfica have started the season in brilliant form, and we think it could be a grueling return to the Champions League group stage for their Israeli opponents.
The Portuguese side will know they may need two wins against Maccabi Haifa if they want to oust PSG or Juventus for one of the top two spots in Group H.
For a data analysis of the most likely outcomes, scores and more for this match, please click here.