Club Brugge vs Benfica Match Analysis & Prediction
15/02/2023 11:00 pm
Club Brugge play host to Benfica at the Jan Breydel Stadium for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday night.
While the hosts have failed to win each of their last seven home matches across all competitions, the visitors are seeking to avoid back-toback away matches without a win for the first time since December.
Club Brugge have been the surprise package in this season’s Champions League and they will be competing in the knockout stages for the first time in their history after finishing second in Group B ahead of Bayer Leverkusen and Atletico Madrid.
After winning their first three group stage matches, Scott Parker’s side failed to win their final three games but they still managed to secure a top-two spot to progress with group winners Porto, keeping a tournament-high five clean sheets in the process.
Despite leading the club into the last 16, head coach Carl Hoefkins was sacked on December 28 after just six months in charge following a poor domestic run of form, with Parker hired as his successor.
However, Parker is yet to spark a turnaround in the Brugge hotseat, drawing five of his first seven Belgian Pro League matches in charge – including last weekend’s 1-1 draw at home against Union SG- and hopes of defending their top-flight title are now all but over as they sit 20 points behind leaders Genk.
Blauw-Zwart can now fully focus on their first-ever meeting with Benfica on Wednesday as they bid to continue their fairytale journey in the Champions League.
Brugge have previously faced five different Portuguese opponents in European competitions including Porto both home and away this season, with an impressive 4-0 away victory in September followed by a 4-0 home defeat just two months later.
Meanwhile, Benfica are competing in the Champions League knockout stages for just the fourth time in the last 11 seasons after topping Group H by the finest of margins.
Roger Schmidt’s side won four of their six group matches, including an impressive 6-1 away victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv in their final game, and they ended up on the same number of points (14) and with the same goal difference (+9) as second-placed PSG, but they topped the group after scoring more away goals than the French outfit.
The Eagles have since consolidated their place at the Primeira Liga summit, with a run of seven victories in their last nine top-flight matches keeping them five points clear of rivals and current holders Porto.
However, Benfica’s seven-game unbeaten run across all competitions was ended by Braga in the Taca de Portugal quarter-finalss last Thursday. After playing out a 1-1 draw with nine men in 120 minutes, the Eagles lost 5-4 on penalties with Fredrik Aursnes missing the only spot kick.
Schmidt’s side will be confident of returning to winning ways against Brugge and getting a foothold in their first-leg tie on Wednesday, as they have won nine and drawn four of their previous 14 meetings with Belgian opposition, while they are also unbeaten in their last seven Champions League matches.
Club Brugge vs. Benfica Head to head
These two teams have not previously met in any competitions and this will be their first meeting in the Champions League.
15/02/2023Club BruggeN/ABenficaN/AChampions League
Club Brugge Team News
Club Brugge trio Ferran Jutgla, Tajon Buchanan and Andreas Skov Olsen are all doubtful with minor injuries and will be assessed ahead of kickoff.
The potential absence of Buchanan could see Antonio Nusa brought into the starting lineup to operate on the right flank, joining Noa Lang and former Benfica striker Roman Yaremchuk in the front three.
Club Brugge's Last 5 Matches
19/01/2023Sint-Truiden1Club Brugge1First Division A
22/01/2023Club Brugge2Sporting Charleroi2First Division A
29/01/2023Zulte Waregem1Club Brugge2First Division A
05/02/2023Antwerp0Club Brugge0First Division A
10/02/2023Club Brugge1Union Saint-Gilloise1First Division A
Benfica Team News
Following the January departure of Enzo Fernandez from Brugge, Chiquinho has played regularly alongside Florentino Luis in centre-midfield, and both are expected to continue in the side on Wednesday.
Goncalo Ramos will compete with Goncalo Guedes to lead the line in attack, while Rafa Silva will be pushing to start in an advanced midfield role ahead of either Aursnes or David Neres.
Benfica's Last 5 Matches
21/01/2023Santa Clara0Benfica3Primeira Liga
26/01/2023Pacos Ferreira0Benfica2Primeira Liga
04/02/2023Benfica3Casa Pia0Primeira Liga
09/02/2023Sporting Braga(P)1Benfica1Taca de Portugal
Club Brugge vs. Benfica: Odds and Predictions
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