The UEFA Champions League quarterfinal second leg clash between Rui Vitoria’s Benfica and Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich is a showdown you don’t want to miss. Bayern only lead the series 1-0 but with the second leg at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, every Bayern goal is critical. Any away goal from Die Roten could see them advance to the semifinals because their defense is one of the best in UEFA. Seeing is believing.
And while Bayern did take down VfB Stuttgart in Bundesliga play (big deal, it was ONLY a 3-1 win), Benfica did enough to throttle Académica de Coimbra away 2-1 in Primeira Liga play. In short, a thrilla dilla. Benfica, the club of the late maestro Eusebio, are currently at the top with a record of 24-1-4 (73 points) but are being chased by a certain in-city rival called Sporting Lisbon with a record of 22-5-2 (71 points). If Benfica is Barcelona, then Sporting is Real Madrid, if you want to convert that to La Liga leverage. And Porto might as well be Atletico, and we’ll leave it at that.
“It was a bit hard to get into the game,” Nico Gaitan said of the first meeting at Bayern’s Allianz Arena, “but then we felt comfortable and played intelligently against the best team in the world. I’m sure Bayern wanted to win 5-0 but Benfica played a great game. We came here to do our part and, at home, with our fans behind us, we will be much stronger. It will be difficult but we will fight hard for advancing to the semis.”
“We played a good game after the first 5 or 10 minutes, in which when we started off a bit slow,” said Raul Jimenez. “Being behind by one goal is not much and I think that in Portugal we can turn things around. We knew we had to be well prepared to prevent them from scoring another goal and try to take advantage of our opportunities. We must play in Lisbon as we did here in the first half.”
Of course, the world-beating superforce known as the mighty Bayern Munich are entitled to have at least one player wanting out in spite of the club’s successes in and out of the German Fatherland. That man in particular? None other than Mr. Serdar Tasci, who felt he should have stayed at the cozy confines of Spartak Moscow but saw his playing time, regrettably…dry up.
“I would not have joined Bayern had I known that I would get any playing time,” Tasci told Bild. “We will see what happens at the end of the season. I don’t know yet what my future looks like.
“We will have to wait and see what options I have. It is too soon to say anything about it. A return to Stuttgart? That could be an interesting option.”
And to add insult to Tasci’s plight? Bayern are electing to go younger! Martin Odegaard, who isn’t feeling the love at Real, at least on the first team, is being seduced by Die Roten to come to Bayern. The monitoring presence is strong, but discrete.
“Of course we are in contact, that’s not up for debate,” said Matthias Sammer, Bayern sporting director, to The Sun. “His decision to sign for Madrid must be respected. He is a great player, but we have not made any attempt to sign him.”
So SL Benfica and Bayern Munich clash on Apr. 13, with a kickoff time of 11:45 AM PT/2:45 PM ET. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for the match between Benfica and Bayern Munich.
- Julio Cesar will make at least five saves.
- Manuel Neuer will make under five saves.
- Benfica will not score in this game.
- At least 40 fouls will be whistled.
- At least four cards will be issued.
- A penalty will be called.
- A player will be sent off.
- Robert Lewandowski will score for Bayern Munich.
- Douglas Costa will score for Bayern Munich.
- Thomas Muller will score for Bayern Munich.
The Star of the South marches on with authority and leaving no quarter in the process. Enjoy, Bayern fans!
Bayern Munich 3, Benfica 0
Bayern Munich win on aggregate 4-0