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Bayern targeting third straight UCL win at Benfica

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FC Bayern are returning to the scene of their great Champions League triumph in 2020! Fourteen months since the glorious 1-0 win in the final against Paris Saint-Germain, the men from Munich will take to the field at the Estádio da Luz on Wednesday night (live ticker and free Webradio from 3:00 PM EST on fcbayern.com) for a group stage Matchday 3 encounters with Benfica. Get the lowdown in our preview.

Training, press conference, journey – the best images as Bayern made their way to Lisbon on Tuesday:

The situation for FC Bayern

Bayern go into Wednesday’s match with considerable momentum. On Sunday, they produced a real show of strength in the Bundesliga top-of-the-table clash at Bayer 04 Leverkusen, storming to a 5-1 win. It’s going swimmingly for Julian Nagelsmann’s side in the Champions League, too. A 3-0 opening win at Barcelona was followed by a 5-0 success at home to Dynamo Kyiv, and FCB are looking to take another step towards the knockout stages with victory in Portugal. “We’re not going to lose sight of our target and will remain concentrated. We’re going to throw everything at winning,” stated defender Dayot Upamecano in Tuesday’s press conference.

Mr Wembley stole the show in Bayern’s last meeting against Benfica:

The opponents: Benfica

Benfica are four points behind Bayern in second place in the Group E table. After a goalless draw at Dynamo Kyiv, the Portuguese record champions sent out a major statement of intent with a 3-0 home win over Barcelona. On the domestic front, the Eagles are bidding for a 38th league title after finishing third last season, and are currently top with 21 points from eight matches. Last weekend they needed extra time to see off second-tier side CD Trofense in the cup, although coach Jorge Jesus did rest some of his key men.

“It’s pretty difficult to score goals against us,” said former Borussia Dortmund and now Benfica midfield string-puller Julian Weigl, promising Bayern a “fierce fight”. “Benfica are a side who like to have the ball and want to play. We can’t say for definite what formation they’ll play in because they’re very variable,” described Bayern coach Nagelsmann.

We take a closer look at the Portuguese record champions in our profile:

The team news for Benfica vs. FC Bayern

As well as Sven Ulreich, who began running on Monday following his knee injury, Nagelsmann must do without Alphonso Davies and Leon Goretzka in Lisbon. “Leon’s out with a cold. Phonzie didn’t sustain a structural injury at Leverkusen but we’ll also give him two or three days rest because we have a hectic schedule,” said the FCB boss. Michaël Cuisance has also not travelled to the Portuguese capital, while Kingsley Coman made his comeback from heart surgery on Sunday.

Kingsley Coman made his first appearance since surgery on his heart against Leverkusen on Sunday.

For the hosts, Gedson Fernandes (ankle), Rodrigo Pinho (knee), Haris Seferović, Gil Dias and Valentino Lazaro (all muscular injuries) are sidelined.

What the coaches say

Julian Nagelsmann: “We want to reproduce the good football that we showed against Leverkusen. Our aim is to leave Lisbon with three points. The necessary level of respect is there on both sides. If we have nine points after this game, then we’ll have put ourselves in a very good position for our next objective.”

Jorge Jesus: “Bayern are one of the best teams in the world. We’ve prepared well and we need to be technically, tactically and mentally good. I believe in our collective quality. We have players who can make the difference by themselves, and we’re also a strong team.”

Watch the pre-match press conference with Julian Nagelsmann and Dayot Upamecano again here:

The referee: Ovidiu Haţegan

Overseeing proceedings on Wednesday night will be Romanian Ovidiu Haţegan, and when he takes charge of Bayern games, it means one thing: goals, goals, goals. The 41-year-old has refereed three fixtures involving the Bavarians in Europe’s premier club competition, with the results reading 6-1 against Lille (November 2012), 5-0 against Beşiktaş (February 2018) and 4-1 against Chelsea in the 2019/20 last 16 second leg (August 2020). Haţegan will be assisted by his compatriots Radu Ghinguleac and Sebastian Gheorghe, with Marcel Birsan as the fourth official. Dutch pair Pol van Boekel and Jochem Kamphuis have been appointed as the video assistants.

Brush up on the key facts and stats ahead of the clash at Benfica:

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