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Portuguese leaders boast best offensive and defensive record

RBL with a chance to qualify for the last 16 | Various ways of qualifying | Benfica league leaders in Portugal | Best offensive and defensive record in the Primeira Liga | Key player Pizzi has 13 goals and 8 assists already this season

The Bulls have a chance to secure a place in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 on Wednesday night if all goes well against Benfica. A point will be enough to progress through to the knockout stages. Nevertheless, the objective will be to win and take a big step towards finishing top of the group table.

We've put our opposition, the reigning Portuguese champions, under the microscope.

Qualification Scenarios:

All the Bulls need to make it through to the next stage of the competition is a point. Here's a run through of the various different ways RBL could qualify:
 

Win:

A win against Benfica on Wednesday means a certain place in the last 16. Moreover, if Lyon fail to win against Zenit then RBL will finish top of the group regardless of the results on the final group stage matchday.
 

Draw:

Should honours be shared between Benfica and the Bulls on Wednesday night then Leipzig will still qualify for the Round of 16. A point would leave us on ten and Benfica on four, meaning they would no longer be able to catch us.

If Lyon win and the Bulls draw then the two teams will be level at the top of the group with ten points and Zenit will be left on four, unable to make up the difference (even if they draw).

A Zenit win would and a Leipzig draw would make things very interesting. Lyon and Zenit would both be on seven points, three behind us with a game left to play. If the Bulls then lost to Lyon on the final matchday and Zenit beat Benfica then all three teams would be level on points. Qualification would then be decided by head-to-head record. Lyon would come out on top, Leipzig would qualify second and Zenit would miss out.
 

Defeat:

Even if we lose to Benfica, qualification will be in our own hands against Lyon! If Zenit also fail to beat Lyon then the exact score between us and Benfica will come into play. If this works in our favour then we will still progress despite the loss.

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The players will have the chance to qualify in front of a home crowd on Wednesday night.

Benfica's season so far:

Benfica are top of the league in Portugal with ten wins and one defeat. Furthermore, they boast the best goalscoring record with 25 goals and best defensive record having only conceded four. They beat CD Santa Clara 2-1 in their last league game on 9th November.

Pizzi has been their standout performer so far. The 30-year-old Portugal international, who has been at the club since 2013, usually plays on the right wing but can also play as a centre-forward. He has bagged 13 goals in 

Carlos Vinicius has also looked dangerous in front of goal. The Brazilian forward arrived at Benfica from SSC Napoli in the summer and has scored eight goals in 14 appearances. However, he is yet to find the back of the net in the Champions League.

The Lisbon side have looked solid at the back, too. FC Barcelona youth academy graduate Alejandro Grimaldo has certainly played his part on the left side of the back line but has also created chances going forward, scoring once and assisting four.

But what good is a strong defence without a quality keeper? Thankfully for Benfica, Odysseas Vlachodimos is there to fulfil that role. The former Germany youth player, who now plays for Greecce, has already kept nine clean sheets so far this season.

The reverse fixture:

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Julian Nagelsmann's men kicked off their Champions League campaign away to Benfica in Lisbon.
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Both teams created plenty of chances in the first half but the deadlock could not be broken before the break.
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The Bulls eventually found the opener through Timo Werner (69')...
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... who then doubled the lead shortly afterwards (78').
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Haris Seferovics pulled one back for the hosts (84') but the Bulls kept them at bay until the final whistle and held on for a 2-1 win!

The most successful club in Portugal

Not only are Benfica the reigning champions of Portugal, but they are also the record champions (37 titles) and domestic cup winners (26 titles). They have won 78 natonal titles overall. They are top Portugal's all-time table.

They have enjoyed less success on the European stage in recent years. They have won the European Cup twice in their history, most recently in the 1960s. They have not won a European trophy since then.

Benfica are known to produce young talent. A lot of the world's top players made their breakthroughs at the club. Goncalo Guedes, Renato Sanches, Joao Félix, André Gomes, Bernardo Silva, David Luiz and Joao Cancelo all made their senior debuts there. Manchester City's first choice keeper Ederson is also a product of the Benfica youth academy. Luca Jovic and Angél Di Maria are also famous Benfica alumni.

 

Club portrait:

  • Club name:
    Sport Lisboa e Benfica (SL Benfica)
     
  • Founded:
    28th February 1904
     
  • Club colours:
    Red & white
     
  • Most appearances:
    Tamagnini Nené (575 games)
     
  • Top scorer:
    Eusébio (474 goals)
     
  • Stadium:
    Estádio da Luz
    Opened: 2003
    Capacity: 65,000
    Pitch size: 105 × 68 m
Champions League in Leipzig!

78 Titles
Benfica boast plenty of silverware
19 Direct goal involvements
Pizzi is Benfica's man in form this season

Mission Champions League

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