MX23RW : Thursday, September 19 00:05:11| >> :600:283278:283278:
Sep 17, 2019 at 8pm UK at ​Estádio da Luz
Attendance: 46,460
RB Leipzig
Seferovic (84')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Werner (69', 79')

Preview: Benfica vs. RB Leipzig - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Champions League Group G clash between Benfica and RB Leipzig, including predictions, teams news and possible lineups.

Two sides with designs on proving themselves as dark horses in this season's Champions League will begin their campaigns on Tuesday night when Benfica host RB Leipzig at the Estadio da Luz.

The Portuguese champions were eliminated in the group stages of last season's competition, whereas Leipzig return to Europe's top table after a year-long absence.

Match preview

Benfica coach Bruno Lage pictured in April 2019© Reuters

Two-time winners Benfica are one of European football's most famous clubs, but more recently they have had to content themselves with the role of conveyor belt of young talent to feed to more financially powerful outfits.

Joao Felix is the latest starlet to leave for big money, although in Ruben Dias and Florentino Luis they still boast two of football's most coveted youngsters - Manchester United have been heavily linked with both.

Good performances on the biggest stage will only add zeros to their valuations, as proved by one of their group-stage opponents last season Ajax.

The Portuguese giants will have been disappointed to crash out in the group last season, although they were paired alongside Ajax and Bayern Munich and this season's group looks a lot kinder, with Lyon and Zenit St Petersburg the other two teams in Group G.

Benfica's European journey came to an end at the hands of German opposition last season when they were beaten by Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarter-finals, while they were also beaten at home by Bayern on matchday one of the Champions League in 2018-19.

Bruno Lage's side have made a confident start to the defence of their record 37th domestic title with five wins from six games, keeping clean sheets in all of those victories while scoring 18 times.

A damaging 2-0 home defeat to bitter rivals Porto leaves them second to surprise package Famalicao in the standings, though, whereas their opponents on Sunday are sitting pretty at the top of the Bundesliga.

RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann pictured on September 14, 2019© Reuters

Julian Nagelsmann's side had a perfect record of four wins from four across all competitions heading into the international break, and backed that up with a respectable 1-1 draw against champions Bayern Munich on Saturday.

Still relative new boys on the scene, Leipzig's third-placed finish last term was enough to earn their second taste of the Champions League, having failed to progress beyond the group stages in 2017-18.

Leipzig have only ever won three of 12 European away games, though, including their only previous visit to Portugal during that Champions League champion.

Despite being included in pot four for the draw, Leipzig will fancy their chances of making it into the knockout stages for the first time, and anything they can get in these away games would be a big boost towards that landmark goal.

Benfica form: WWWLWW

RB Leipzig form: WWWWD

Team News

Benfica midfielder Florentino Luis pictured in July 2019© Reuters

Benfica have a lengthy injury list for this time of the season, which Chiquinho added to when he limped out of the defeat to Porto.

Lage is also without Gabriel, Gedson, German Conti and David Tavares - all of whom are yet to feature this season - while Carlos Vinicius is also sidelined.

The hosts do boast a man in form in Pizzi, though, with the attacker having scored again at the weekend to make it six goals in five games so far this term.

Former Tottenham Hotspur and Queens Park Rangers midfielder Adel Taarabt is also enjoying a new lease of life in Lisbon, earning his first international caps since 2014 during the recent break.

Leipzig have their own form player in Timo Werner, who has five goals in four league appearances so far and continues to be linked with a move to Bayern Munich.

Nagelsmann will be without Tyler Adams and Hannes Wolf, however, with the former sidelined since early August due to a metatarsal injury and the latter breaking his ankle on international duty with Austria Under-21s.

Benfica possible starting lineup:
Vlachodimos; Almeida, Dias, Ferreira, Grimaldo; Pizzi, Luis, Taarabt, Silva; De Tomas; Seferovic

Leipzig possible starting lineup:
Gulacsi; Mukiele, Konate, Orban; Klostermann, Laimer, Forsberg, Halstenberg; Sabitzer, Poulsen, Werner

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We say: Benfica 1-1 Leipzig

Benfica are not easily beaten at home, but they are welcoming a Leipzig team in fine form and full of confidence. All of the matches in Group G are likely to be difficult to call, and we cannot separate these two on matchday one.

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Who will win Tuesday's Champions League clash between Benfica and RB Leipzig?

RB Leipzig
RB Leipzig
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