Portuguese giants Benfica welcome Scottish giants Rangers to the Estádio da Luz on Thursday evening, for a UEFA Europa League clash, with both sides having started with two wins in the first two Group D matches of the season.
Benfica have had a great start to the season, but they were brought crashing down to earth over the weekend, as they lost 3-0 to Boavista in the Portuguese league, in a poor performance.
However, in terms of the Europa League alone, Benfica have looked terrific in thefirst two games. In their first match, they beat Lech Poznan 4-2. They followed that up with a 3-0 win over Standard Liege, however that was a game in which the Belgians were depleted by a host of positive COVID-19 cases in their squad.
Rangers, meanwhile, have continued on this incredible defensive run, that has seen them concede just three goals in the league all season. They have not yet conceded a goal in the Europa League, with their last two games being a 2-0 win against Standard Liege in Belgium, and a 1-0 home win over Lech Poznan.
Benfica vs Rangers head-to-head
Benfica and Rangers have never faced each other in competitive action before this.
Benfica form guide: L-W-W-W-W
Rangers form guide: W-W-W-W-W
Benfica vs Rangers team news
Centre-back Jean-Claire Todibo has an issue with his achilles tendon, which will keep him out of contention for selection for this game. Benfica will also be without Andre Almeida and Andreas Samaris.
Injured: Jean-Claire Todibo, Andreas Samaris, Andre Almeida
Steven Gerrard cannot select Nikola Katic, who is still recovering from a ruptured ACL. Gerrard picked a rather strong team for the league game against Kilmarnock on Sunday, but is unlikely to rotate too much, in what should be regarded as the toughest game in the group.
Injured: Nikola Katic
Benfica vs Rangers Predicted XI
Benfica Predicted XI (4-3-3): Odysseas Vlachodimos; Alex Grimaldo; Nicolas Otamendi; Jan Vertonghen; Gilberto; Andreas Samaris; Adel Taraabt; Pizzi; Everton; Luca Waldschmidt; Darwin Núñez
Rangers Predicted XI (4-3-3): Alan McGregor; James Tavernier, Filip Helander, Connor Goldson, Borna Barisic; Steven Davis, Glen Kamara, Scott Arfield; Ryan Kent, Alfredo Morelos, Ianis Hagi
Benfica vs Rangers Prediction
Despite Benfica's lofty European pedigree, few teams boast a defensive record as mean as Rangers this season.
We fancy this to be a close game that would end in a draw.
Prediction: Benfica 1-1 Rangers