Basel vs Benfica Prediction, Preview, H2H & Betting Tips
Basel vs Benfica prediction for Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League Group A fixture at the “St. Jakob-Park”. Both teams have lost in opening round of the new Champions League season so the meeting in Switzerland comes with same hope for each side – to start earning points. Three, if possible. Find out more in our detailed match preview, free betting tips and predictions.
H2H History: Basel vs Benfica
Benfica and Basel have already met in the Champions League and that happened not so long time ago. Both sides were alongside Manchester United and Otelul Galati in Group C of the 2010/11 Champions League, where surprisingly they made it through the group phase and qualified to the Round of 16 at Manchester United’s expense. Benfica finished on top of the group without a lost match (3 wins, 3 draws), Basel were second with one point less, while The Red Devils finished on the third position and have been dropped out.
Just as it is now, first round of their duel took place at Swiss turf where Benfica won 0:2 on 18 October, whilst two weeks later Basel won a point in Lisbon – 1:1.
UEFA Champions League: Basel vs Benfica 27.09.2017
Six years after their previous tie Basel and Benfica were once again drawn in a group with Manchester United, who will hardly repeat the same mistake, especially when Jose Mourinho is the one in charge. Something that points out the importance of all head-to-head encounters and fact that both teams have lost their openers makes the clash even more significant.
The Lisbon Eagles fly to Basel after losing to CSKA Moscow at home soil, which was a massive disappointment and Rui Vitoria simply can’t afford another poor result. As the champions of Portugal, Benfica were drawn out of Pot 1 and they carry some serious expectations on their shoulder. Losing at home by another pretender which is not Manchester United was a huge blow over their expectations and considering fact Benfica is currently third (on 5 points from Porto and 3 from Sporting CP) in the Primeira Liga, another wrong step may eventually cost too much to Rui Vitoria.
Swiss hegemons Basel are finding themselves in a pretty similar situation as Benfica since The RotBlau are currently fourth in the Super League. However, Raphaël Wicky’s men will come after a narrow weekend success over FC Zürich, but are still fourth in the league. After 9 domestic league games Basel have lost three times and remain on six points behind leaders Young Boys. Not the best performance by reigning champions Basel who have ended season 2016-17 with 2 defeats out of 36 games, while they have already “improved” that record in 9 rounds only.
Anyway, there is much more time and Basel have proved they know how to handle in Switzerland, but their Champions League perspectives may be faded if they fail to get a proper result against Benfica. Raphaël Wicky had a nightmare on his Champions League debut (as a first-team coach, he previously led Basel U21 in the UEFA Youth League) when facing Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United at the “Old Trafford”. The Red Devils were merciless and won 3:0 so the 40-year-old Swiss coach must forget this game as soon as possible and quickly focus onto the next one.
Match Preview: Team News, Squads and Missing Players
Basel have built a reputation of being a very solid host in Europe and Raphaël Wicky must defend it. He will most likely stick to the 3-4-2-1 formation and name the same squad used vs Zürich on Saturday.
Goalkeeper Germano Vailati and Mohamed Elyounoussi are both sidelined for this clash and if Vailati is not a first-choice, Wicky must one more choose someone between Kevin Bua or Dimitri Oberlin as Elyounoussi’s replacement. Oberlin looks favourite to start as he scored the winning goal last weekend and claims a starting position thereby. In the meantime, Ricky van Wolfswinkel will hope to end his goal drought on Wednesday night as the Dutchman who scored 7 goals in six consecutive league games failed to score the last three times he played, including the Champions League opener.
Benfica must bounce back after a lost home match to CSKA and except injured Douglas, and Toto Salvio, who recovers from a sprained ankle, all other players must be in contention. Argentine defender Lisandro Lopez missed the last few games but is close to return as if he is not ready to start on Wednesday night, Rui Vitoria can pick from Jardel or youngster Ruben Dias, who started in the last three games. Alex Grimaldo is another one who is eager for first-team football and the Spaniard competes with experienced Eliseu for a starting position at the left-back.
Ljubomir Fejsa also returned into action and thus Rui Vitoria has more options in midfield where he can choose a starting central midfield duo among Andreas Samaris, Filipe Augusto, Pizzi, Filip Krovinovic, while Andrija Zivkovic and Franco Cervi look certain on both wings, although Rafa Silva might be an option as well.
Basel vs Benfica Prediction and Betting Tips
Benfica’s boss Rui Vitoria realizes his squad heads to a place where Basel suffered Champions League setbacks only against clubs like Real Madrid, PSG, Arsenal, in the past few years, but experienced some difficulties to win a game as well. Indeed, Basel have won only a qualifier against Lech Poznan (1:0) in its last seven Champions League fixtures and their last group stage success remains back in November 2014 – 4:0 vs Ludogorets Razgrad.
Overall Basel have won only two of their seven home games against Portuguese clubs, losing four.
On the other hand Benfica keeps some good memories from the last visit in Basel and holds a decent record against Swiss sides in general: 3 wins and 3 draws in 6 previous meetings. The win from Basel and two other draws are their results from past visits in Switzerland.
And since we have two sides who are in a desperate need of points to maintain their Champions League dreams, we believe that both teams will pull out their best effort and will make sure to score at least once.
“Both teams to score” seems to be a reliable market here, so it perfectly fits as our betting prediction for the matchup involving Basel and Benfica.
Possible Lineups of Basel and Benfica
Venue: “St. Jakob-Park”, Basel.
Referee: Craig Thomson from Scotland.
FC Basel: Tomas Vaclik – Manuel Akanji, Marek Suchy, Eder Balanta – Michael Lang, Taulant Xhaka, Luca Zuffi, Blas Riveros – Renato Steffen, Dimitri Oberlin – Ricky van Wolfswinkel. (3-4-2-1)
SL Benfica: Julio Cesar – Andre Almeida, Ruben Dias, Luisão, Alejandro Grimaldo – Andrija Zivkovic, Pizzi, Lubomir Fejsa, Franco Cervi – Jonas, Haris Seferovic. (4-4-2)