Preview: PSV Eindhoven vs. Benfica - prediction, team news, lineups
23/08/2021 11:24:26

PSV Eindhoven will be looking to recover from a first-leg deficit in their Champions League playoff tie with Benfica when they welcome the Portuguese outfit for the reverse match on Tuesday night (9:00PM, 24 Aug).


Benfica ran out 2-1 winners in the first leg on August 18, with Rafa Silva and Julian Weigl scoring the goals for Jorge Jesus's side, leaving PSV with work to do in the second leg in Eindhoven.


Match preview


PSV last competed in the group stage of the Champions League in 2018-19, when they finished bottom of Group B, picking up just two points from their clashes with Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan.


The Red and Whites finished second behind Ajax in last season's Eredivisie, which saw them qualify for the second qualifying round of the Champions League, where they comfortably dispatched Galatasaray 7-2.


PSV then made light work of FC Midtjylland in the third qualifying round, running out 4-0 winners on aggregate, but as mentioned, they suffered a 2-1 loss to Benfica in the first leg of their playoff tie; Cody Gakpo struck in the second period, but Benfica were two ahead at the break courtesy of goals from Rafa Silva and Weigl.


Roger Schmidt's side have made a strong start to their domestic campaign, beating Ajax 4-0 in the Dutch Super Cup on August 7, in addition to overcoming Heracles and Cambuur in their opening two league matches.


PSV have won their last three home matches in the Champions League, including strong victories over Galatasaray and Midtjylland this term, and the club's fans will be hoping for another strong performance here.


Benfica, meanwhile, missed out an automatic qualification for the group stage of the Champions League, as they finished down in third position in last season's Portuguese top flight.


The Eagles have now only won one of the last four Portuguese championships, and they still have work to do in order to qualify for the group stage of the 2021-22 European Cup, as PSV have shown their strength at home in the competition this term.


Benfica have also made an impressive start to their Primeira Liga campaign, recording three straight wins over Moreirense, Arouca and Gil Vicente to sit second in the table on nine points.


Jesus's side have a rich history in the European Cup, winning the competition on two occasions in the early 1960s, but they missed out on the competition last term, instead playing in the group stage of the Europa League before losing to Arsenal in the round of 32.


Benfica's last appearance in the group stage of the Champions League was therefore 2019-20, when they finished third in the section before losing to Shakhtar Donetsk in the last-32 stage of the Europa League.


Team News


PSV boss Schmidt made a number of changes for Saturday's league clash with Cambuur, but the likes of Noni Madueke, Ibrahim Sangare, Mario Gotze, Andre Ramalho and Phillip Max will be back in the XI for this match.


There are not expected to be any surprises in the Dutch outfit's side, with Madueke, Gotze and Gakpo set to operate behind lone forward Eran Zahavi, who was on the scoresheet last time out.


Sangare will come into the midfield to play alongside Marco van Ginkel, while Olivier Boscagli is expected to feature in the middle of the defence alongside Ramalho.


As for Benfica, head coach Jesus also made a number of changes for Saturday's league clash with Gil Vicente, but the team's key players will return for this match.


Indeed, Pizzi, Joao Mario, Alex Grimaldo, Weigl and Rafa Silva will all come back in, but there is unlikely to be a spot in the starting XI for Carlos Vinicius, who is back at the club this season following a loan spell at Tottenham Hotspur.


The visitors are again expected to line up in a 3-4-3 formation, with former Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi operating in the middle of the defence, but Jan Vertonghen, Haris Seferovic and Ferro remain on the sidelines for the Portuguese outfit through injury.


PSV Eindhoven possible starting lineup:

Drommel; Mwene, Ramalho, Boscagli, Max; Van Ginkel, Sangare; Madueke, Gotze, Gakpo; Zahavi


Benfica possible starting lineup:

Vlachodimos; Lucas, Otamendi, Morato; Goncalves, Weigl, Mario, Grimaldo; Pizzi, Yaremchuk, R Silva


We say: PSV Eindhoven 1-1 Benfica (Benfica win 3-2 on aggregate)


This is an incredibly difficult match to call, and it would not be a surprise to see it go all the way to a penalty shootout. PSV will believe that they can harm Benfica in the final third, but the Portuguese outfit are in excellent form, and we fancy the visitors to claim a 1-1 draw in order to win 3-2 on aggregate.


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