So Celtic faced Benfica back in the UCL group stage back in 2006 with two vastly different legs. How would you compare that Benfica side to the current one?
We have a much better team and manager. However, we have just been weakened by two key exits in midfield and the suspension of our only right-back.
We used to struggle to get results away from Europe, even though it isn't much different to now, we have been fairing better. For example, first away in Germany vs Stuttgart in Europa League 2 seasons ago, draws away to PSG, PSV and more recently Manchester United.
With the current coach we have also won away to Everton, Otelul and FC Basel. Although we are aware we have never won a single point at Parkhead.
Benfica sold two highly rated players, Witsel and Javi. Without them how do you think Benfica will approach this game?
We will have to rely on our old guards, Carlos Martins and Pablo Aimar, both were key to our title winning season in 2009/10. Carlos Martins was loaned to La Liga side Granada last season and we did miss him on occasions this past season.
Likelihood that our manager, Jorge Jesus, will start with one of them. Although neither plays the full 90 minutes.
In the defensive midfield position, we only have Nemanja Matic (former Chelsea, Vitesse), a young Serbian international who missed most of pre-season due to injuries. He will have to step up.
Most people already know about Cardozo but are there any other players Celtic should look out for?
Without a doubt Rodrigo and Eduardo Salvio. We got Rodrigo from Real Madrid 2 season ago and loaned him to Bolton. Had a season stint in the Premiership, mainly as a sub and scored a few goals. He has been one of our key players this season and also in the first half of the season before his injury in St. Petersburg in the Champions League Last 16 vs Zenit. Rodrigo is the main Spain under-21 striker
Eduardo Salvio we first got him on loan from Atlético Madrid after he won the Europa League, he instantly became a fan favourite in season 2010/11 and we still rue his injury in the Europa League quarter-finals against PSV, if he had been fit we would have made the Final in Dublin. He went back to Atlético Madrid, won the Europa League again and signed for us permanently for a club record of €12m.
Are there any Benfica weaknesses going into this game that Celtic could exploit?
Maxi Pereira is injured so central defender Miguel Vítor (on loan with Leicester last season) likely to start in his place. Our left-back is a young Paraguayan forward and we are still waiting on Luisão's verdict on his suspension.
Garay is the only one who will 100% play if not for any last minute freak injury. We also have a captain crisis at the club if Luisão is out, as Maxi Pereira is suspended and Javi García has been sold. Aimar next logical choice but he will have to start for that to happen.
Defence also a weakness because our manager has a philosophy of scoring one more than you, but it will be interesting on his choice of tactics on the day. Miguel Vítor at right back certainly won't be bombing forward like Maxi Pereira does.
Finally have you got any predictions for the match?
I would be slightly happy with, which is a 1-1. But can already imagine the support the home fans will give to their team and it will be 12 vs 11 in that respect.
Formation and starting line up baffles not only me but most Benfica fans because of the last minute changes (selling Witsel and Javi). It's really tough to predict what he will think of this game but I can almost give you the following.
Miguel Vítor, Luisão(if available), Garay, Melgarejo
Salvio Pablo Aimar (Gaitán, Nolito, Enzo Pérez, Bruno César)
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to ask me these questions where can we find you? You can find our website at http://www.planetbenfica.co.uk/and you can also follow us on twitter @planetbenfica
Click here to view the article
View of the Opposition: Benfica
1 reply to this topic
New Reply 12:40 PM Gossip Celtic eye up trio 3 replies Celtic Transfer Rumours EX11
New Reply 12:35 PM Gossip Carlton Cole 16 replies Celtic Transfer Rumours EX11
New Reply 12:07 PM Gossip Celtic eye up trio 2 replies Celtic Transfer Rumours EX11
New Reply 10:42 AM Lennon to Everton? 5 replies CelticTalk Harry Macari
New Reply 09:35 AM Gossip Celtic eye up trio 1 reply Celtic Transfer Rumours marmarisbhoy
New Topic 09:25 AM Gossip Celtic eye up trio 0 replies Celtic Transfer Rumours kevza