Benfica vs Club Brugge – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Tuesday 7th March 2023
Estadio da Luz
As part of our Champions League predictions, we take a look at Club Brugge’s visit to Lisbon. With a 2-0 first leg advantage and Club Brugge struggling domestically, is this match a formality? Read on with our Benfica vs Club Brugge prediction.
Benfica vs Club Brugge Match Preview
Benfica enter this second leg having won eight of their last nine games in the domestic league. Indeed, the Eagles are riding high, having won their last four in all competitions and only losing twice all season. On Friday, they won 2-0 against Familicao. Leading goalscorer Goncalo Ramos registered a brace in that game, taking his total to 15 league goals this season and 21 overall. Benfica are brilliant at home; they have only dropped two points in 12 games at the Luz in the league this season and have scored an awe-inspiring 37 goals. They also took 7 points from 9 in their three group games at the Luz, qualifying in first place over PSG by the smallest of margins (away goals scored).
Domestically, Club Brugge have been disappointing under new coach Scott Parker. Indeed, they have only won twice in the previous nine games in the league, also drawing six of those. This run places them in 11th place in the form guide over the last ten games – very poor for a club of Brugge’s standing in Belgian football. The run stretches even longer, as they’ve only won two games of the last fourteen in all competitions. They also only won one of their three away games in the group stage. Coming into this game after a shocking 3-0 defeat by KV Oostende, the omens are not great for the Belgians.
Benfica dominated the first leg. Winning 2-0 with a penalty from Joao Mario and a late strike by David Neres, the Portuguese giants had the game well in hand. Benfica also had expected goals of 2.83 to 0.23, 54 per cent possession, and 14 shots to four, and the Belgians struggled to cope with the creativity and speed of their play. Brugge had more of the ball than they would have anticipated, as Benfica sometimes played a bit more on the counter-attack as the away team. The tie looks lost for Brugge – they must win by two clear goals to force extra time in a stadium that is a fortress for Benfica.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Ristic, Chiquinho, Draxler, Guedes
Might Not Play: Hendry
Will Not Play: Skov Olsen
Benfica vs Club Brugge Lineups (Predicted)
Benfica (4-2-3-1): Vlachodimos; Grimaldo, Otamendi, A Silva, Bah; Aursnes, Florentino Luis; Neres, R Silva, Joao Mario; Ramos
Club Brugge (4-2-3-1): Mignolet; Meijer, Sylla, Mechele, Mata; Nielsen, Onyedika; Lang, Vanaken, Buchanan; Jutgla
Benfica vs Club Brugge Analysis
Benfica Will Likely Control Possession And Take The Game to Brugge
As we made clear in our preview for the first leg, both these teams have amassed a majority of possession in their respective domestic leagues. Therefore, both sides often dominate the opposition domestically, as expected. Brugge’s struggles domestically, however, highlight that they are finding it difficult to take the game away from teams. Benfica are a step up in class from anyone Brugge face every week, and the Portuguese side are fantastic at home (as we have already alluded to).
Therefore, despite Benfica needing to manage the game as they have a two-goal lead to protect, they will likely control the match regardless. They will look to score more goals against Brugge and make a statement to the rest of Europe if they qualify for the quarter-finals. Aursnes and Florentino in the midfield area will likely control the game with their short passing and feeding the ball into Rafa Silva, who connects Benfica’s midfield and attacking lines.
Brugge could line up in numerous ways, but Onyedika and Nielsen will probably play in midfield, with Vanaken being the connecting player. This match would be difficult enough for Brugge if they were in good form, but they are not. Brugge are stuck between a rock and a hard place – they need at least two goals, and probably more as Benfica will likely score, but they don’t want to be too gung-ho and leave themselves overexposed. We think they will play in a low block, pinch the ball where they can, and launch counters to try to get back in the tie. Truthfully, Benfica will probably not allow them to settle. The pattern will likely be set where Brugge play with limited counter-attacks while being dominated by Benfica.
Attacking Areas; Brugge Need Goals
While Benfica don’t need goals, they’ll likely be determined to prove what a ruthless and impressive side they are (as they have all season) and will try to destroy Brugge on aggregate here. Therefore, we anticipate no ‘taking it easy’ or taking the foot off the gas. It might happen, but we think Mario, Neres, and Rafa Silva will want to showcase their invention, dribbling, and passing ability. Grimaldo will also want to continue proving he is one of Europe’s current best attacking left-backs.
Ramos has had some injury issues this season, but (as stated) he has over twenty goals now and – like any good striker – will be hungry for more. We see him making runs aplenty to try to get on the scoresheet, as his finishing tends to be very good. Benfica will likely want to qualify for the quarter-finals in style, so they’ll be looking to entertain their fans. After all, winning breeds momentum and is a great habit to have.
As we stated, Brugge are desperate for goals to keep their European campaign alive. Therefore, as they will come under much pressure in this cauldron, we expect them to rely heavily on their front four players to keep the ball when they receive it. If Brugge can do this, they can alleviate the Benfica pressure. Lang and Buchanan are dangerous wingers with pace and trickery, and they can cut inside and shoot.
Jutgla is a quality finisher and has already proved his worth in the group stage. We think Vanaken will be crucial, too – if Brugge are to have any hope, they need some creativity and thinking outside the box from him. Jutgla can finish any chances made. We expect the full-backs to be pinned back often, but they must assist in attacks when possible. Sowah is a potential starter out wide and has some inventiveness too. Striker Yaremchuk could also be given a chance against his old club as fresh legs later in the game.
Let us not beat around the bush or be under any illusions here; this match represents an absolute mountain to climb for Brugge. They needed to win the first leg to take an advantage to protect. Instead, they lost 2-0 and come to the pressure cooker of the Luz, where Benfica are seemingly unbeatable. Brugge must take risks in this game at some point, especially if the game remains goalless for a while. Benfica will likely score early, but Brugge will become more desperate the longer they can’t register. The Portuguese club can then pick them off on the counter-attack with speed and lightning-fast breaks.
It will take a miracle for Brugge to come to Lisbon and win, never mind win by two. We don’t see it happening. Football is unpredictable, but Benfica are the better team with better players. They are also in the far superior form in a stronger league and play more entertaining football than Brugge. They can hurt Brugge both with possession and on transitions. While we were tempted to predict a more conservative result as Benfica do not need to go full throttle, we don’t think they’ll show Brugge any mercy here. We can’t see how Brugge can obtain a positive result here.
Benfica 3-0 Club Brugge
Benfica vs Club Brugge Betting Tip – Benfica -1 (Win by 2 or More) Odds:
10Bet – 50% up to £50 Welcome Bonus
Sport is our life at 10bet. We don’t miss a shot, stroke or tackle, and we make sure you won’t too. We cover football betting, horse racing betting, tennis betting, cricket betting, basketball betting, and so much more. But if greyhounds or Gaelic hurling is your thing, you’ll find that here too.
Luckland Sports – Welcome Offer, Bet £15 Get £10
Sports Betting at Its Best
Luckland online Sports betting is for all Sports fans. With over 20 Sports to choose from, both pre-match & live, we have an extensive coverage of leagues and events from all over the world, covered 24/7.
Everygame (USA and Canada) – Exclusive Sign-Up Bonuses
Everygame was the first online sportsbook to hit the world wide web and paved the way for many of the online sportsbooks we see online today. Thousands of daily live betting options. Up to $750 Sign-Up Bonus!