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Preview: Benfica vs. Braga - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Benfica vs. Braga - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Primeira Liga clash between Benfica and Braga, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Benfica and Braga draw the curtain on round 11 of the Portuguese Primeira Liga when they square off at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on Sunday.

The hosts head into the game off the back of a humbling 5-2 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich, while the visitors claimed a 4-2 win over Ludogorets Razgrad in the Europa League.

Match preview

Benfica failed to arrest their slump in form as they suffered a humbling 5-2 defeat against German heavyweights Bayern Munich in Group E of the Champions League last Tuesday.

In a one-sided affair at the Allianz Arena, world-class forward Robert Lewandowski put on a superb show of class as he finished the game with three goals and an assist to his name to send the Bavarians into the knockout stages.

Prior to that, Jorge Jesus's men were held to a somewhat disappointing 3-3 draw away to Vitoria de Guimaraes in Group A of the Taca da Liga on October 17 before playing out a 1-1 draw with Estoril Praia in the league three days later.

As Aguias have now picked up one win from their most recent five outings and this slump in form has seen them lose top spot in the Primeira Liga standings as they now sit third, one point behind Porto and Sporting Lisbon, who are tied on 26 points.

Having lost three of their last four games against Sunday's visitors, including a 2-0 defeat in May's Taca de Portugal final, Benfica will be looking to end their dry spell and restore some pride this weekend.

Braga, meanwhile, picked up successive wins in the Primeira Liga for the first time since March as they cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Portimonense.

In a one-sided affair at the Braga Municipal Stadium, Wenderson Galeno put on a superb individual performance as he scored in either half to put the hosts two goals up before creating the third to condemn the Portimao-based side to a second straight defeat.

Prior to that, Carlos Carvalhal's men claimed a 1-0 win over Gil Vicente courtesy of Vitor Oliveira's fourth-minute strike before playing out an uneventful goalless draw with Pacos de Ferreira in Group C of the Taca da Liga.

Braga head into Sunday's game fresh off the back of moving top of Group F of the Europa League as they claimed a 4-2 victory over Ludogorets Razgrad last time out.

Os Arcebispos, who are currently fourth in the Primeira Liga table, are unbeaten in all but one of their 10 league outings so far, picking up five wins and four draws in that time.

This solid run of results has been owing to their defensive sturdiness as they boast one of the division's best records with five clean sheets and eight goals conceded so far.

Benfica Primeira Liga form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D

Benfica form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L

Braga Primeira Liga form:
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W

Braga form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W

Team News

Andre Almeida was forced off the pitch injured inside the opening 39 minutes in the first meeting versus Bayern Munich back in October and the defender is set to sit out his fifth straight game.

He is joined on the club's injury table by Haris Seferovic, who picked up an injury on international duty for Switzerland, while Rodrigo Pinho misses out through an injury sustained against Boavista back in September.

The full-back duo of Gil Dias and Valentino Lazaro are also out of contention for As Aguias after both coming off with muscle and back injuries in the Taca de Portugal tie against Trofense on October 16.

Braga remain without the services of David Carmo as the 22-year-old defender continues his long journey to full fitness after sustaining an injury in February's game against Porto.

Vitor Tormena is also out of contention for Os Arcebispos after picking up a muscle injury 18 minutes after coming off the bench in the game against Gil Vicente on October 25.

Lucas Piazon was an unused substitute in the game against Ludogorets Razgrad last time out having recovered from an injury he sustained in the reverse fixture and the former Chelsea man could return to action this weekend.

Benfica possible starting lineup:
Vlachodimos; Verissimo, Otamendi, Vertonghen; Goncalves, Weigl, Mario, Grimaldo; Silva, Yaremchuk, Nunez

Braga possible starting lineup:
Matheus; Fabiano, Oliveira, Leite, Sequeira; Castro, Musrati, Horta; Medeiros, Ruiz, Galeno

We say: Benfica 1-2 Braga

It is safe to say that Braga have found their rhythm this season as they head into the game on a blistering 10-game unbeaten run, claiming seven wins in that time. In contrast, Benfica appear to have run out of steam in recent weeks, claiming one win from their last five games across all competitions. Looking at past meetings between the sides, we anticipate an action-packed contest in this one with Braga stealing a narrow win and heaping more misery on the hosts.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data

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16 11155715-88
17 111461017-77
18 11137723-166
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