Bayern Munich will seek to assure themselves of a place in the knockout stages of the 2021-22 Champions League when they welcome Benfica to the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side thrashed the Portuguese outfit 4-0 on matchday three and will confirm their place in the next round with another routine victory here.
While a historic 5-0 DFB-Pokal humbling at the hands of Borussia Monchengladbach proved that Bayern Munich are humans just like the rest of us, Nagelsmann’s side have produced a spate of characteristically dominant showings in the Champions League so far.
After humbling Barcelona and Dynamo Kiev 3-0 and 5-0 respectively, the German champions put four unanswered goals past Benfica on matchday three to establish a five-point lead at the summit in Group E, assuring themselves of at least a third-placed finish in the process.
Should the Bavarians claim maximum points on home soil this time around, they would be guaranteed a spot in the top two no matter what transpires between Barca and Dynamo Kiev, while a Ukrainian victory would see them confirm their expected status as group winners.
No team in the group stage has scored more than Bayern’s 12 over three matches so far this season – and they are also one of two sides yet to concede in the tournament alongside Juventus – and they warmed up for this contest in perfect fashion at the weekend.
Robert Lewandowski (2), Kingsley Coman, Leroy Sane and Thomas Muller all netted in a 5-2 drubbing of Union Berlin on Saturday, although Bayern would be foolish to read too much into their previous prolific performance against Benfica before the first whistle blows on Wednesday.
One would imagine that a 3-0 victory over Barcelona would set Benfica up well for the visit of Bayern, but pitting their wits against the champions of Germany proved to be a whole different kettle of fish for Jorge Jesus’s side.
Sane (2) and Lewandowski both struck on matchday three as substitute Everton turned into his own net barely four minutes after coming onto the field, and things have not gone terribly smoothly for Benfica following that humbling in Europe.
Indeed, Jesus’s side were held to a 3-3 draw in the Taca de Liga by Vitoria Guimaraes before playing out another stalemate in the Primeira Liga with Estoril, as Lucas Verissimo’s second-minute header was cancelled out by Loreintz Rosier’s 90th-minute equaliser in a frustrating affair.
It is now just two wins in their last six across all competitions for Benfica, who remain second in Champions League Group E – one point above Barcelona – and their unbeaten away record in the 2021-22 season is still intact as they somehow attempt to try to extend it this week.
Such a feat seems nigh-on impossible, though, as Benfica have suffered five defeats from five away games on Bayern’s turf, most recently going down 5-1 in the group stage of the 2018-19 tournament, with Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery both netting on the night.
Bayern Munich Champions League form:
Bayern Munich form (all competitions):
Benfica Champions League form:
Benfica form (all competitions):
We say: Bayern Munich 3-1 Benfica
Even without two mainstays of the side in Hernandez and Goretzka, Bayern’s irrepressible attacking forces should have no problem propelling their side to victory here.
We would not put it past Benfica to breach a Bavarian defence that has certainly not been impenetrable over the past week, but we can only envisage Nagelsmann’s side confirming their spot in the next stage on Tuesday.