Barcelona v Benfica


Messi: Closing in on Gerd Muller's record

Messi: Closing in on Gerd Muller's record

Benfica will go in search of their first victory in Spain for 30 years when they visit Barcelona in their final UEFA Champions League group game on Wednesday night.


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Aguias last won on Spanish soil in 1982 and need to repeat that success at the Nou Camp to guarantee their place in the knockout phase of the competition ahead of Celtic, who are tied with the Portuguese outfit on seven points.

Barca have already advanced to the last 16 as Group G winners having taken 12 points from their opening five matches, and history is on their side as the Spanish giants have triumphed against Portuguese opposition at home in 10 previous meetings.

In team news, Blaugrana coach Tito Vilanova is set to pick a strong starting line-up, with Lionel Messi, David Villa and Pedro all expected to feature in attack.

Vilanova is likely to rest Xavi, meaning that Cesc Fabregas will line up alongside Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta in midfield, while Martin Montoya could start at right-back in the absence of the injured Dani Alves.

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus is also expected to name a potent starting XI as the visitors look for a famous victory over their Iberian neighbours.

Oscar Cardozo and Lima will be tasked with providing their main attacking threat, while Nicolas Gaitan is set to play in the hole behind the front two at the head of a diamond midfield formation.

Skipper Luisao, meanwhile, will feature in only his second European game for the Primeira Liga outfit this term, having recently served a two-month ban for shoving a referee in pre-season.

Posted: 04/12/12 15:45

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