New manager Xavi Hernandez began his tenure at the club with a slender 1-0 victory over rivals Espanyol in La Liga on Saturday. He will be keen to mark his first European game as the Barcelona manager with a win on Tuesday.
The Catalan giants will be eager to avenge the disappointing 3-0 loss they suffered in Lisbon in September and quality for the last 16.
Barcelona Team News
Sergino Dest joined the squad for training on Sunday and is likely to be available for selection. Nico Gonzalez limped off the pitch in the closing stages of the game against Espanyol, although it didn’t appear serious and he might still feature on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Pedri, Ansu Fati, Martin Braithwaite and Ousmane Dembele all remain sidelined and are not expected to make the Barcelona lineup.
Predicted Barcelona Lineup vs Benfica (4-3-3)
A clean sheet against Espanyol should have given Marc-Andre ter Stegen a lot of confidence heading into an all-important Champions League fixture at home. The German will continue between the sticks on Tuesday.
Barcelona haven’t been great defensively since the beginning of the season, making unforced errors and conceding some cheap goals. However, they did well not to concede against rivals Espanyol and that will give the defenders a boost.
Oscar Mingueza is likely to retain his spot at right-back in the Barcelona lineup. Gerard Pique’s experience and leadership qualities will be key in such a decisive night for Barcelona. He’ll partner Eric Garcia at the back with Jordi Alba a certain starter at left-back.
Nico Gonzalez is likely to be fit to face Benfica, despite being forced off injured against Espanyol on Saturday. Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong are crucial members of the Barcelona engine room and will definitely start against Jorge Jesus’ side.
Xavi may look to Philippe Coutinho to add some much-needed spark and creativity in the Barcelona attack. Coutinho can unlock the most rigid defence with his on and off the ball skills, but he needs a run of games to get back his mojo.
The highly-energetic Gavi has shown a lot of promise since breaking into the senior side this season. The teenager has shown that he has the qualities to hurt the opposition in a blink of an eye. With his passing skills and smart movement, he’ll look to cause problems to the Benfica rearguard.
Leading the Barcelona attack will be none other than Memphis Depay, who continued his rich goal-scoring form by netting the winner against Espanyol at the weekend.