Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Bayern Munich v Benfica - Preview

For the second year running, FC Bayern München must overcome Portuguese opposition in the last eight of the UEFA Champions League as SL Benfica look to reach a first semi-final in more than 25 years.

The teams have met in three previous ties – and not only have Bayern won them all, they have gone on to reach at least the final of the competition on every occasion. The sides were first paired in the quarter-finals of the 1975/76 European Champion Clubs' Cup, a goalless first leg in Lisbon preceding Bayern's 5-1 win in Munich in which Bernd Dürnberger and Gerd Müller each scored twice and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge got the other Bayern goal.

Bayern went on to defeat AS Saint-Étienne 1-0 in the final at Hampden Park, Glasgow – therefore claiming the trophy for the third year in a row.

It was a similar story when the teams met again in the 1981/82 European Cup second round, the first leg in Lisbon again ending scoreless. Once again Bayern ran out comfortable victors at home, thanks mainly to a Dieter Hoeness hat-trick. Paul Breitner got the other in a 4-1 victory.

Again Bayern progressed to the final, although this time they missed out on the trophy, going down 1-0 to Aston Villa FC in Rotterdam.

Jürgen Klinsmann was the standout performer the last time the teams' paths crossed, in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup third round. The striker scored all four goals in Bayern's 4-1 home first-leg victory, then added two more in a 3-1 Lisbon success with Andreas Herzog contributing the other.

Bayern went on to the final and beat FC Girondins de Bordeaux 5-1 over two legs. Klinsmann finished with 15 goals for the season.

Five-time winners Bayern have featured in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in each of the last four seasons. Their European Cup quarter-final record is W17 L9.

Bayern have been unstoppable at home in this season's UEFA Champions League, winning all four games – although they needed extra time, and a recovery from 2-0 down, to beat Juventus in the round of 16 second leg. They won their home group games against GNK Dinamo Zagreb, Arsenal FC and Olympiacos FC with an aggregate score of 14-1.

Twelve months ago, Bayern went down 3-1 at FC Porto in the quarter-final first leg but turned the tie round spectacularly with a 6-1 second-leg success in Munich.

That Porto defeat ended Bayern's 15-match unbeaten record against Portuguese opposition. Their overall record is now P24 W14 D8 L2 F55 A18; at home it is W9 D2 L0. They have won alll nine of their previous two-legged knockout ties against Portuguese opposition.

Bayern's only other defeat by a Portuguese club was also against Porto, in the 1987 European Cup final. Ludwig Kögl gave Bayern a 25th-minute lead at Vienna's Praterstadion, but late goals from Rabah Madjer (77) and Filho Juary (81) snatched away the trophy.

This is Benfica's first UEFA Champions League quarter-final since a 3-1 aggregate defeat by Chelsea FC in 2011/12. Their overall European Cup quarter-final record is W8 L8.

Benfica reached the final on the last two occasions they survived this hurdle – in 1990 and 1988.

Júlio César was in the FC Internazionale Milano side that beat Bayern 2-0 in the 2010 UEFA Champions League final in Madrid. The goalkeeper also helped the Nerazzurri win 3-2 in Munich in the following season's round of 16, going through on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate draw. Holger Badstuber, Philipp Lahm, Arjen Robben and Thomas Müller were in the Bayern side.

Arturo Vidal was in the Juventus team beaten 2-1 on aggregate by Benfica in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League semi-finals.

Benfica's Greek international striker Kostas Mitroglou holds German citizenship and had spells in the youth ranks at MSV Duisburg and VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Mitroglou scored twice in Greece's 2-0 friendly win against David Alaba's Austria on 14 August 2013.

Robert Lewandowski has scored 13 times in 14 club appearances in 2016. He has registered ten of Bayern's 20 league goals since the winter break. The Poland forward has 44 goals in 47 outings for club and country in 2015/16.

Lewandowski's 25th Bundesliga goal this term, one more than his previous best total for a league campaign, earned Guardiola's men a 1-0 victory at 1. FC Köln on 19 March. With that effort against Köln, Lewandowski surpassed Luca Toni as the scorer of the most Bundesliga goals by a foreign player in a single season for the Bavarians.

Benfica have won 19 of their last 20 games in all competitions, the exception being the 2-1 home loss to Porto on 12 February. 

Jonas has managed 18 goals in 16 appearances in all competitions this calendar year. He has played the last 11 minutes of Brazil's 2-2 FIFA World Cup qualifying draw against Paraguay on 29 March – his first international appearance since September 2012.

Renato Sanches made his senior international debut on 25 March, coming on as a substitute in Portugal's 1-0 home loss to Bulgaria. He also featured against Belgium four days later.

Victor Lindelöf earned his first caps for Sweden in their 2-1 loss to Turkey and the 1-1 draw against the Czech Republic. 

Luisão (out since 21 November, broken left arm) suffered a setback in training and underwent surgery on the injury for a second time on 8 February.


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