Barcelona v Benfica preview

Benfica will aim to qualify for the Champions League last 16 with victory over Barcelona at Camp Nou on Wednesday.

Last Updated: 05/12/12 at 23:00

Lionel Messi: Barcelona forward is aiming to create history on Wednesday

Lionel Messi: Barcelona forward is aiming to create history on Wednesday

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The Portuguese giants will head into the final Group G fixture aiming for maximum points that will ascertain their place in the next round.

Jorge Jesus' side are currently second in the group on seven points, level with third-place Celtic but with a superior head-to-head record, meaning that if they at least equal Celtic's result against Spartak Moscow, then they will progress to the knockout rounds.

Benfica's cause will be helped by the fact that Barca have already qualified as group winners and will field an essentially second-string team.

Lionel Messi has been included in the Blaugrana squad, as the Argentine forward is just one goal short of equalling Gerd Muller's 1972 record of 85 goals in a calendar year.

However, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Andres Iniesta , Cesc Fabregas and Pedro Rodriguez all have been rested. While Barca B team players Sergi Gomez, Carles Planas, Sergi Roberto, Rafinha, Gerard Deulofeu and Cristian Tello have been included in the 18-man squad.

Benfica, though, have injury worries, as Eduardo Salvio, Enzo Perez, Carlos Martins and Pablo Aimar all sit out the Camp Nou clash.

Oscar Cardozo and Lima are expected to be the two players up front for the visitors, while Luisao will make only his second appearance in the Champions League this season.

History is also against the Portuguese giants as the Eagles have not won against a Spanish team since 1982.

To make matters worse, Barcelona have won all 10 of their last fixtures against Portuguese clubs at home.

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Champions League Fixtures

Tuesday, 16 September 2014
19:45
Benfica v Zenit  
B Dortmund v Arsenal  
Galatasaray v Anderlecht  
Juventus v Malmo FF  
Liverpool v Ludogorets  
Monaco v Leverkusen  
Olympiakos v A Madrid  
R Madrid v Basel  
Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Ajax v PSG  
Ath Bilbao v Shak Donetsk  

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