The two teams are joint leaders of Group B after two rounds, but with Manchester United breathing down their necks, both sides will be looking for a victory in Basel. The hosts are full of confidence after bringing one point from Old Trafford, but Benfica are also in great spirits at the moment and they have yet to lose to Swiss opposition.
Valuable point from Old Trafford
Having won the league title in Switzerland last term, FC Basel directly qualified for the Champions League group stages, and the team have done fairly well at the start of the new season. Basel have been far from impressive on domestic stage as they currently sit in forth place in Swiss Super League, but four points from two Champions League games have got to be considered a great return. Following the hard-fought victory over Otelul at home, FC Basel managed to come from two goals behind to earn a 3:3 draw at Old Trafford, although the shock result can be attributed to the complacency United players have shown in the second period of the game. The Swiss side are now set to face a very good Benfica side that will be fully focused throughout the game, so, odd as it may sound, I expect the hosts to face an even tougher task than at Old Trafford.
Midfielders Xherdan Shaqiri and Benjamin Huggel return from suspension, while it is important to note that Basel are still searching for a new coach after Thorsten Fink left for Hamburg.
Benfica remain unbeaten
Having shown a massive potential last term and having signed a number of high-profile players this summer, Benfica were always going to have a big role to play on both domestic and European stage. Fourteen games into the season and we can already say that the Eagles are on the road to make this a very successful season, with nine wins and five draws proving that Jorge Jesus’ side no longer has to worry about consistency. Besides the impressive showings on domestic stage, Benfica managed to prove their credentials in Europe as well, with the scintillating performance against Manchester United and comfortable victory over Otelul nominating the Eagles as one of the favourites for the first place in the group. Jorge Jesus’ side are now determined to continue the rich vein of form against FC Basel and I certainly see them as favourites in this clash.
Key midfielders Pablo Aimar and Javi Garcia have recovered from their respective injuries and are expected to start, but Ruben Amorim and Enzo Perez remain unavailable.
FC Basel did well to pick up four points from first two games, but that doesn’t mean they will have an easy job against Benfica, the team that have been relentless this season. The Eagles are playing great football at the moment and I believe they have what it takes to triumph in Basel.
Our prediction: Away win
Odds: 2.10 (11/10)