Previews

Barcelona vs Benfica PREVIEW

Preview stats Barcelona vs Benfica.

The UEFA Champions League, November 23, Kick-off 20:00 GMT

Barcelona vs Benfica PREVIEW STATS

Benfica beat Barcelona 3-0 on MD2 of this season’s UEFA Champions League, with only two sides ever winning home and away against Barca in the group stage in a single season: Dynamo Kyiv in 1997-98 (3-0 home, 4-0 away) and Bayern Munich in 1998-99 (1-0 home, 2-1 away).

Barcelona have lost just one of their five UEFA Champions League matches against Benfica (W2 D2), though it came in the reverse meeting this season, losing 3-0 at Estádio da Luz.

After losing their first two UEFA Champions League matches this season against Bayern Munich and Benfica, Barcelona have won their last two, both 1-0 wins over Dynamo Kiev. They are looking to keep three consecutive clean sheets in the competition for the first time since May 2019.

Barcelona’s Ansu Fati has been directly involved in four goals in his four UEFA Champions League starts (2 goals, 2 assists), all of which have come with him at a different age (16, 17, 18 and 19). He’s only the third player to make a Champions League appearance at all ages between 16 and 19, after Anthony Vanden Borre and Jack Wilshere.

This will be Xavi’s first UEFA Champions League game as Barcelona manager, becoming the fifth individual to both play for and manage the team in the competition, after Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique, Ronald Koeman and Sergi Barjuán. Xavi made 151 appearances for Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League; the most by a player for a single team in the history of the competition.

Benfica have only won one of their last 13 away UEFA Champions League matches (D3 L9), a 3-2 win against AEK Athens in October 2018. They’ve also shipped 37 goals across those 13 games.

Benfica have never won away at Barcelona in the European Cup/Champions League in three attempts (D1 L2), with this their first visit to the Camp Nou since December 2012 for a goalless draw.

Following consecutive clean sheets in their first two UEFA Champions League games this season, Benfica shipped nine goals in two games against Bayern Munich – no side conceded more on MD3 & MD4 combined (Club Brugge also nine).

Only Malmö FF (4) have had fewer shots on target in the UEFA Champions League this season than Barcelona (7). At this stage last season, Barcelona led the way for shots on target in the Champions League, having had 36 in their first four matches.

Benfica striker Darwin Núñez has scored three goals in the UEFA Champions League this season, averaging a goal every 75 minutes. He netted a brace against Barcelona in their last game, with only Faustino Asprilla and Andriy Shevchenko ever netting three against them in a single group stage, both doing so in 1997-98, and both with hat-tricks.

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