The road of Benfica to reach the Champions League group stage begins in the 3rd qualifying round. As result of the good European coefficient, the Eagles will always be a seeded team, in this round and in the play-off.
Another aspect that is already defined is that the Eagles will never have to face the Ukrainian from Dynamo Kyiv, who is also a seeded team, nor Basel.
Several European championships will only finish next weekend and so, the predictions are more complex. None the less, the Official Site bring to you a little more information on the possible opponents of Benfica.
Already present in the 3rd qualifying round is Spartak Moscow. One of the historical teams of the Russian Championship may be Benfica's opponent. The league winner on 11 occasions, Spartak is strong in the midfield and in the attack, with players such as the forwards Quincy Promes and Luiz Adriano, and the midfielders Pasalic and Fernando. It is also worth highlighting the presence of Melgarejo. The Paraguayan has already represented the Reds.
Other of the possible opponents of Benfica comes from Belgium. The championship has not ended yet, so it may either be Anderlecht or Standard Liège coached by Ricardo Sá Pinto. The team from Bruxels is one of the big names of the Belgium football and Anderlecht is always a powerful emblem. The team led by the Portuguese coach has the Moroccan Carcela in their ranks, a players o was a champion for Benfica in 2015/16.
The participants of the 3rd qualifying round will be complete with the three winners from the 2nd qualifying round. It is already known that PAOK (Greece), Ajax (Holand), Sturm Graz (Austria) and Basel will compete in this stage.
The 2nd qualifying round is depended on the end of the Turkish and Czech leagues. So far the following teams may qualify: Besiktas, Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray or Basaksehir (Turkey) and Jablonec, Sigma Olomouc, Slavia Praga or Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic).
The matches of the 3rd qualifying round will be held on August 7/8 (first leg) and August 14 (second leg).
POSSIBLE OPPONENTS OF BENFICA IN THE 3RD QUALIFYING ROUND
Spartak Moscow (Russia)
Anderlecht/Standard Liège (Belgium)
Sturm Graz (Austria)
Jablonec/Sigma Olomouc/Slavia Praga/Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic)
Qualifying to the play-off, Benfica will play the first leg on August 21/22 and the second leg on August 28/29.
Text: Marco Rebelo
Pics: Archive / SL Benfica