Barcelona could have Pedri and Sergi Roberto back on the bench while Frenkie de Jong is set to return to the lineup against Benfica.
Ronald Koeman hopes to get his Barcelona side up and running in the Champions League after their horrendous Matchday 1 defeat to Bayern Munich. They now face one of the Dutchman’s former sides in Benfica, who themselves are on the hunt for their first victory in the competition this season.
Koeman is expected to name a strong side to face the Portuguese club, with Memphis Depay and Philippe Coutinho scheduled to feature in the lineup. The Dutchman is likely to make some changes to his side as some players return for this European clash.
Jordi Alba, Martin Braithwaite, Ousmane Dembele and Sergio Aguero all remain sidelined in terms of injuries. Sergino Dest is expected to retain his place at left-back in Alba’s absence, while Oscar Mingueza will deputise at right-back.
Barcelona did update on the injury status of youngster Pedri and versatile star Sergi Roberto. Both players are fit to play, but Koeman will likely be cautious about including them from the start just yet.
During his pre-match press conference, Koeman sat alongside central defender Ronald Araujo, which hints at the Uruguayan’s inclusion from the start. The defender admitted the club was treating the Benfica clash with utmost importance and outlined what the club are targeting this season.
Araujo said, “Tomorrow will be a great game against Benfica, and we hope to be at our best. We are in good shape, and we are coming off the back of good performance, and that’s the road to follow. We need to go for the three points. Barça wants to win it all, and we have to fight for the biggest prizes. We can’t just wait to see what happens; we have to go out to win and challenge the biggest teams.”
The Uruguayan is expected to partner Gerard Pique in central defence, meaning Eric Garcia will be starting from the bench. Elsewhere in midfield. Frenkie de Jong is available for this European clash after being sidelined in La Liga due to a domestic suspension. The Dutchman will play alongside Sergio Busquets in a midfield pivot.
Koeman will keep Gavi on the right side of the attack, start Coutinho in a no.10 role behind the striker, and Memphis Depay will continue his position on the left side of the attack. Luuk de Jong will play the centre-forward role and aim to continue his goalscoring form from the Levante game.
Barcelona Predicted XI: ter Stegen; Mingueza, Araujo, Pique, Dest; Frenkie de Jong, Busquets; Gavi, Coutinho, Depay; Luuk de Jong