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Benfica vs Red Bull Salzburg predicted lineups – The UEFA Champions League anthem will resound in Lisbon once again, minutes before Benfica and Red Bull Salzburg face each other in the first game of Group D.
It will be the first time these teams face each other at senior level, but this fixture was the final of the UEFA Youth League in 2017 (won by Salzburg) and 2022 (won by Benfica). Tune into TNT Sports 7 this Wednesday to discover some of the best prospects in European football.
Benfica vs Red Bull Salzburg predicted lineups and news
One of the stories of this game will be Roger Schmidt facing the current Austrian champions. He coached them from 2012 to 2014, winning one Austrian Bundesliga and one domestic cup. The German coach has had a fantastic first year in Lisbon, winning the domestic league and reaching the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
Team news: Benfica
After winning the Portuguese Super Cup against their rivals Porto, Benfica surprisingly lost their first game of the Primeira Liga. Since then, the Reds won four games in a row and are currently one point away from the league’s co-leaders Sporting CP and Porto.
One major change from the opening games of this season is the goalkeeper position. After a shocking performance against Boavista, Roger Schmidt decided that Odysseas Vlachodimos’ time at Benfica was over. Bringing Anatoliy Trubin from Shakhtar Donetsk in the last days of the transfer window confirmed it.
The Ukrainian started for the Glorious for the first time this weekend, and should be under the bar again against Salzburg.
This summer saw Benfica add some depth to their roster and there will most likely be a few surprises in Benfica’s starting XI. One area of concern will be the left back position. Jurasek and Bernat were not fit enough to play this weekend, and there are doubts they will be available for the Champions League, meaning that Fredrik Aursnes will most likely start again as a Left Back.
Another doubt is the central midfield. Kökçü will most likely start, but who will be on his side? João Neves is the new kid in town and has been the revelation of these past months in Lisbon, but Florentino Luis has more experience and brings more defensively.
Benfica predicted lineup
Trubin; Bah, Antonio Silva, Otamendi, Aursnes; Florentino Luis, Kökçü; Di Maria, Rafa, João Mario; Musa
Team news: Red Bull Salzburg
After six wins in six league games, Salzburg lost their first points against Sturm Graz this weekend. The reigning champions lost Benjamin Sesko, Noah Okafor and Nicolas Seiwald in the summer, but they’ve already found substitutes for them, in the form of Karim Konaté, Mads Bidstrup and Oscar Gloukh.
With the most goals scored (18) and the best defence (four conceded), Salzburg seem to be well-prepared for their upcoming game in Lisbon.
On the injury front, a few players have missed these last games, especially in defence, but Pavlovic could be back for the clash against the Portuguese side. Higher up the field, Fernando and Capaldo will miss Wednesday’s game against Benfica.
It will also be Gerhard Struber’s Champions League touchline debut. The 46 year-old manager became the head coach of Red Bull Salzburg after Matthias Jaissle was sacked only one day before the start of the season. The club decided to part ways with Jaissle since he was in negotiations with Al-Ahli to become their coach.
Struber has been a coach for the Red Bull family in the past, having coached the New York Red Bulls from 2020 to 2023.
Red Bull Salzburg predicted lineup
Schlager; Dedic, Baidoo, Pavlovic, Terzic; Kjaergaard, Gourna-Douath, Bidstrup; Gloukh; Konaté, Koita
Can Angel Di María beat Messi and Ronaldo?
When most of the older players amongst Europe’s elite were joining Saudi Arabia, El Fideo came back to Benfica, his first European club. With five goal contributions in as many games, including four goals, the Argentinian is still having a strong impact on the Portuguese side despite his advanced years.
Di María is currently the player with the third-most assists (38) in the history of the Champions League, only behind Cristiano Ronaldo (42) and Lionel Messi (40).
With so much revolving around the Ronaldo v Messi battle for the best part of a generation, and the latter being the ballon d’Or 2023 favourite, Di María could give his career at least one final distinction with just a few more assists in the UCL.
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