Barcelona will travel to Portugal to face Benfica at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica for their second game of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League campaign. The Catalans did not have the best of starts in Group E as they lost to Bayern Munich 3-0 at home on Matchday 1 of the group stages. Benfica faced Dynamo Kyiv away from home a fortnight ago and played a goalless draw to start their UCL campaign.
Ronal Koeman’s Barcelona have not had the greatest of starts to their league campaign, and are currently at 6th in the La Liga standings with 12 points from the first six games. Although, they are one of the three unbeaten teams in the Spanish league at the moment, and are five points behind leaders Real Madrid, but do have a game in hand. They have scored e11 goals so far in the league, conceding just five in the opening six games. Even though their start to the UCL campaign wasn’t the greatest, and they do not have the strongest of squads without Leo Messi, they are still one of the European Giants who are expected to perform well at the grandest stage of them all.
The Eagles have had the perfect start to their domestic campaign so far this season, with seven wins from seven Liga Portugal games, and sit four points clear at the top of the standings. They have scored a total of 19 goals in the first seven games, conceding just four. Uruguayan International Darwin Nunez and UEFA Euro 2020 Ukrainian star Roman Yaremchuk have both scored four goals each so far for the Eagles, and have been their best players so far this season.
Barcelona did not have the best of games against Bayern Munich on the opening day of the UCL campaign. They were completely out shadowed by the class of the Bavarians, as the Catalans were only allowed to take five shots on goal, out of which two were from the edge of the box and three from a little outside the box. This was the reason for their low xG of 0.26 on Matchday 1.
Benfica had an impressive attacking performance in the match, as they took a total of 12 shots in the game hitting the target four times. They were unlucky not to score as they had created an xG of 1.79 in the game against Dynamo Kyiv.
The passing zones of Barcelona against Bayern Munich show that they had a major concentration of their passes on the left side of midfield and the left side of the central defence. They had a few smart passes and crosses in the match, with Jordi alba putting in seven crosses and five passes into the opposition box.
Benfica’s passing zones show that they had a majority of their passes in the game against Dynamo Kyiv in the midfield area and on both the attacking wings. They had a couple of successful smart passes and put in a lot more crosses into the box as compared to their next opponents Barcelona. Alex Grimaldo put in a total of six crosses and five passes into the opposition penalty area in the match.
With Group E wide open, both Benfica and Barcelona will hope to come out with a victory in this game. Jorge Jesus will hope to get something out of the game against the Catalans, and will surely go out to win the game considering their recent form. Ronal Koeman will hope to turn around Barcelona’s season as a whole as they have recently made more progress in the league and will hope to replicate it in the UEFA Champions League.