Benfica take on the visitors Red Bull Salzburg in the round 1 match of UEFA Champions League group stage. The match will be played on Tuesday, September 20th at Estádio da Luz (Lisbon).
Benfica, under the leadership of Roger Schmidt, have managed to improve. The Eagles have always been considered one of Portugal's strongest clubs. However, for several years, they struggled to reclaim the top spot. Sporting or Porto would often clinch another title. Even the bet on Jorge Jesus didn't seem to work. It's a different story with the German coach who arrived last summer. He started brilliantly, though results dipped in the second half of the season. Nevertheless, they made it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, where they lost to Inter, and remained at the top of Primeira Liga. After the summer, during which they actively revamped the squad following the customary player sales, they defeated Dragons in the Super Cup.
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Red Bull Salzburg remain the flagship of Austrian football. The Bulls were de facto created, not from scratch, with the financial support of Dietrich Mateschitz, the owner of the eponymous corporation. The club then expanded into other sports, including soccer, in various countries, starting with neighboring Germany and Leipzig. But even in Austria, the club has been the undisputed #1 in recent years. Even after a change in leadership, the system still works: players are lucratively sold after development, they maintain their dominance in the Bundesliga, and in the previous Champions League, they secured third place in a tough group with Milan, Chelsea, and Dinamo Zagreb. Moreover, after moving to the Europa League, they defeated Roma at home, albeit by a narrow 1-0 margin, and ended the competition with a 0-2 loss in the second leg.
There have been no previous encounters; this will be their first meeting. With all due respect to the Austrians, their opponent is clearly stronger. Considering the home field advantage, one can bet on the home team's victory with -1.0 goal handicap.
Prediction for the match: Benfica to win with -1.0 handicap.