Benfica open their 2023/24 Champions League campaign with a matchup against Austrian Bundesliga champions RB Salzburg in Group D. They’ll be looking to replicate their impressive run from last year which saw Benfica make it to the quarter-finals. Manager Roger Schmidt starts his second season with the Lisbon based club and has undoubtedly been a success so far. The German manager lifted the Primeira Liga, ending the clubs three year drought, to go along with the aforementioned quarter-final appearance in this competition. The Eagles kicked off the new season by lifting the Supertaca after a 2-0 win over Porto. However, they would then lose the first match of the new league campaign, only to respond with four straight wins. Benfica’s most recent outing resulted in a 2-1 away win over Vizela on Saturday. The hosts topped their Champions League group last season with a fantastic performance of four wins and two draws.
This will be the fifth consecutive year that Salzburg are competing in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League. Last season saw the Austrian side win only once but their three additional draws were enough to secure a third-place finish in the group. They’ll look to build on that this time around as they set their sights on top two group finish. Salzburg’s best finish over this current five year run in the Champions League was a round of 16 finish that they achieved in 2020/21. The Red Bulls had started the season with a perfect winning record heading into the weekend of seven wins from seven competitive fixtures. A 2-2 away draw with Sturm Graz would put an end to their streak but Salzburg are still on an eight match unbeaten run. However, this will present a considerable step up in quality.
Both teams have experienced hot starts to the new season. However, RB Salzburg will come up against a much more difficult opponent than what they are used to in the Austrian Bundesliga. Benfica, meanwhile, have recovered strongly after an opening day wobble. Roger Schmidt’s men look to have picked up where they left off last season with their aggressive, high-octane style of attacking play. We expect them to get the win here with the match seeing at least two total goals scored. Our Benfica vs Salzburg prediction is for Benfica to win + over 1.5 goals.