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Aug 18, 2021 at 8pm UK
PSVPSV Eindhoven
Silva (10'), Weigl (42')
Otamendi (58'), Silva (61'), Almeida (75'), Jesus (90'), Meite (86'), Ramos (90+2')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Gakpo (51')
van Ginkel (57'), Obispo (88')

Preview: Benfica vs. PSV Eindhoven - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Benfica vs. PSV Eindhoven - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Champions League clash between Benfica and PSV Eindhoven, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Benfica welcome PSV Eindhoven to the Estadio da Luiz in Lisbon for the first leg of their Champions League playoff encounter on Wednesday night.

Arguably the tie of the round, only one of these European giants can progress into this year's group stage, which neither side competed in last season.

Match preview

Benfica maintained their 100% record for the new campaign when they claimed a routine 2-0 home victory against 10-men Arouca in the Primeira Liga last weekend.

After the dismissal of Victor Braga just eight minutes in, the Eagles went on to dominate the match, with first-half strikes from Luca Waldschmidt and new recruit Roman Yaremchuk – who has joined from Gent this summer – enough to seal all three points for the hosts.

Benfica have now won all four of their competitive fixtures so far this season, scoring twice on each occasion as well as keeping three clean sheets.

Two of these victories were in the previous round of Champions League qualification, with the Eagles beating Sparta Prague 4-0 on aggregate earlier this month.

Jorge Jesus is now preparing for an important clash against PSV, with the Portuguese giants aiming to qualify for the Champions League group stage, having missed out last year for the first time in a decade.

Benfica last faced PSV when they dropped down from Europe's elite domestic competition into the Europa League during the 2010-11 campaign. The Eagles won an entertaining two-legged tie 6-3 on aggregate, before reaching the semi-finals that season.

Although a lot has changed in 10 years, Jesus will be hoping that his side can produce a similar result across the two legs, though he will be aware of the threat the Dutch opponent will pose.

Like Benfica, PSV have also had a perfect start to the new campaign, winning all six of their competitive fixtures and scoring 17 goals in the process.

Eindhoven have had to progress from both the second and third rounds of Champions League qualification to get to this stage, thumping Galatasaray 7-2 on aggregate before securing a 4-0 win over two legs against FC Midtjylland earlier this month.

Roger Schmidt's men have also enjoyed domestic success this season, when they claimed an impressive 4-0 victory over Dutch giants Ajax in the final of the Johan Cruyff Shield.

PSV will be full of confidence heading into Wednesday's first leg against Benfica, a side they have only ever beaten once before in their history, winning 6-5 on penalties in the 1987-88 European Cup final, their only major European honour to date.

The 2018-19 campaign was the last time Eindhoven competed in the group stages of the Champions League, where they picked up just two points from tricky encounters against Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan.

Schmidt seems to have moulded a much stronger side since then and he will be hoping that they can avoid another year in the Europa League.

Benfica Champions League form:
  • W
  • W

Benfica form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

PSV Eindhoven Champions League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

PSV Eindhoven form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

As centre-back Jan Vertonghen is ruled out for at least three weeks with a thigh injury, Jesus may continue to use a four-man defence, as he did last weekend, instead of a back three that was adopted in their first three matches of the season with the Belgian in the side.

Forwards Darwin Nunez (knee) and Haris Seferovic (muscle), as well as defender Ferro (muscle), are also unavailable for selection due to injury.

Summer signing Soualiho Meite started the last match in central midfield alongside Joao Mario, however the Torino recruit could be dropped to the bench on Wednesday, with Julian Weigl expected to play ahead of him.

As for PSV, Schmidt is set to recall several first-team players who were either rested or who started on the bench against Heracles last weekend, including Eran Zahavi, Mario Gotze, Cody Gakpo and Joel Drommel.

English teenager Noni Madueke, who has started every game so far this season, seems to be the forward who has stepped up since Donyell Malen's departure to Borussia Dortmund, contributing to six goals in as many matches.

Schmidt will have three players unavailable due to injury, as Maximiliano Romero (knee), Maxime Delanghe (shoulder) and Richard Ledezma (knee) all remain on the treatment table.

Benfica possible starting lineup:
Vlachodimos; Gilberto, Otamendi, Verissimo, Grimaldo; Pizzi, Weigl, Mario, Everton; Waldschmidt, Yaremchuk

PSV Eindhoven possible starting lineup:
Drommel; Mwene, Ramalho, Boscagli, Max; Sangare, Van Ginkel; Madueke, Gotze, Gakpo; Zahavi

We say: Benfica 2-2 PSV Eindhoven

Even though first-leg encounters can often be cagey affairs, these two sides have plenty of firepower and are set to cause each other problems in the final third, so goals are to be expected on Wednesday.

With little to separate these two in-form teams, an entertaining score draw could be on the cards in Lisbon.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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