Champions League Preview: Benfica vs. Anderlecht

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Updated: September 11, 2013
Estadio da Luz

Champions League contenders and online bookie staples, Benfica and Anderlecht, are slated to meet in the group stage this September 17 at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon. Both sides have been doing quite impressively well in their individual tourneys, with each of them bringing home the bacon four times from eight occasions. While these recent successes make for a good show for young football audiences, it is the teams’ 1983 UEFA tournament that really made an impact on both sides’ avid supporters when Benfica and Anderlecht met in the finals. The Belgian players were later declared winners on a very narrow aggregate finish.

 

Synopsis of the teams’ past matches

Three decades have passed and both squads have inevitably evolved since. Benfica and Anderlecht had their last Champions League meeting in the 2004-05 season, where Benfica won 1-0 courtesy of Zlatko Zahovič’s goal in the 13th minute. Anderlecht were later able to retaliate when they played as home and seized the victory 3-0.

 

In a total of eight face-offs, the Portuguese and Belgian sides have both posted three home wins and two draws. Of the nine matches that Benfica had against other Belgian clubs, they have only succumbed once, emerged on six, and scored deadlocks in the remainder. Anderlecht, meanwhile, have never been able to score a win in Portugal. Of the nine competitive fixtures (as visitors) they had, six were defeats and the rest were draws.

 

Champions League betting tips

Benfica finished third in their group last season. They commenced their campaign with a 0-0 draw with Celtic and a loss 2-0 from Barcelona before slamming Spartak Moskva 2-0. The Portuguese players were later sent to the UEFA Europa League and secured all four home games for a sure spot in the final, where they lost 2-1 to Chelsea.

 

In a bid to improve their form in their tenth Champions League participation, Anderlecht are looking for new skills set they could capitalize on. They finished as underdogs in their group last season and agonized on the same doom in their other five group stage efforts. In six seasons, the Belgians have only won in just four fixtures and have barely tasted an away victory.

 

Prediction: The 1983 tournament saw Anderlecht carrying the day. But this time around, it will be Benfica’s turn to score the winning goals.

 

Estádio da Luz | Image source: slbenfica.pt