RB Leipzig Tear Wolfsburg Apart In German Cup

 

RB Leipzig demolished Wolfsburg 6-1 in the German Cup on Wednesday after a second-half exhibition featuring four goals in 13 minutes from the visiting side.

Leipzig trail Wolfsburg by two points in the Bundesliga but grabbed the lead on 13 minutes in their last-32 tie courtesy of an own goal by Dutch defender Jeffrey Bruma.

Marcel Sabitzer scored Leipzig’s second in the 55th minute and opened the floodgates, with goals from Emil Forsberg, Konrad Laimer and Timo Werner padding the score out to 5-0.

Germany forward Werner struck again in the 88th minute before Wolfsburg got a consolation goal from Wout Weghorst.

Elsewhere, Werder Bremen dominated the second division side Heidenheim, winning 4-1. Milot Rashica scored after just six minutes, with Leonardo Bittencourt and Davy Klaassen adding two more before the game had reached 20 minutes.

Austrian defender Marco Friedl added a fourth in the 41st minute before Heidenheim’s Marc Schnatterer converted a penalty in first-half injury time.

Amateur side SC Verl continued their miraculous German Cup run, advancing to the last 16 after defeating second-division Holsten Kiel 8-7 in a penalty shootout.

Home side Verl, who play in the fourth division of German football, equalised in the 45th minute through Nico Hecker after Kiel opened the scoring in the 13th minute through Janni Luca Serra.

Both sides converted each of their five penalties, with the shootout eventually going to its ninth round. Verl’s Zlatko Janjic scored from the spot before Kiel’s Phil Neumann failed to convert to send the minnows through.

Verl had defeated Bundesliga side Augsburg in their first-round fixture.

In another match decided by a penalty shootout, two-time German Cup winners Kaiserslautern won 6-5 over Nuremberg, after the score finished 2-2 following extra time.

In Wednesday’s late games, Borussia Dortmund welcome Borussia Moenchengladbach, while Duesseldorf take on Erzgebirge, Hertha Berlin face Dynamo Dresden and St Pauli take on Eintracht Frankfurt.

AFP

‘Perfect Day’ As Bayern Return To Bundesliga Summit With Liverpool Looming

Bayern Munich’s striker Thomas Mueller (C) reacts after the fourth goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayern Munich vs VfL Wolfsburg in Munich.
Christof STACHE / AFP

 

 

Bayern Munich warmed up for Liverpool with a “perfect day” by knocking Borussia Dortmund from the top of the Bundesliga for the first time since September with a 6-0 thrashing of Wolfsburg on Saturday.

Bayern, who host Liverpool on Wednesday in their Champions League, last 16, return leg clash after a goalless draw at Anfield, went top on goal difference from Dortmund, who needed late goals to win 3-1 at home to Stuttgart.

“I’m very pleased. We want to be just as focused on Wednesday,” said Bayern head coach Niko Kovac.

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Bayern ran riot in Munich as Robert Lewandowski scored twice, leaving him with 20 goals in 17 league games against Wolfsburg, while Serge Gnabry, James Rodriguez and Joshua Kimmich also netted.

“We are now where we want to be — first in the table and that’s where we want to stay,” added Kovac with nine rounds of league games left.

Having been told on Tuesday, along with Bayern team-mates Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, that his Germany career is over, Mueller took out his frustration, setting up the first goal and scoring Munich’s second.

“The three wanted to give a response and they all played well — it was a perfect afternoon,” said goal-scorer Kimmich.

Gnabry gave Bayern the lead on 34 minutes at the Allianz Arena by tapping home Mueller’s cross, then turned provider three minutes later when he served up a simple tap in for Lewandowski to make it 2-0.

Rodriguez, thriving in the attacking midfield role, got on the scoresheet when his superb 52nd-minute shot hit the top corner.

Having set up the first goal, Mueller showed Germany head coach Joachim Loew what he is missing by wrong-footing Wolfsburg goalkeeper Koen Casteels to score with his heel on 76 minutes.

Kimmich scored with a header on 82 minutes and Lewandowski claimed his second by guiding his header into the far corner three minutes later.

Lewandowski, the top-scoring foreigner in Bundesliga history with 197 goals, has now scored in each of his last seven games against Wolfsburg, who he single-handedly battered in 2015 with five goals in just nine minutes.

‘Gigantic bus’

In Dortmund, late goals by Paco Alcacer and Chelsea-bound Christian Pulisic saw off dogged Stuttgart, but Borussia is now second after 23 weeks on top.

“I don’t care about who is top now,” said Dortmund captain Marco Reus.

“It only matters who is top at the end and everything is still open.”

The win, only Dortmund’s second in their last nine games, was vital to stay level on 57 points with Bayern.

Despite some dogged Stuttgart defending, Dortmund took the lead at Signal Iduna Park when Reus netted a penalty on 62 minutes.

The lead lasted just nine minutes as Stuttgart’s Marc-Oliver Kempf headed home unmarked.

However, Alcacer calmed nerves when the Spanish striker stabbed home on 84 minutes after a goal-mouth scramble.

The third goal came when Axel Witsel beat three defenders, played Mario Goetze into the box to set up Pulisic, who netted in stoppage time.

“They parked a gigantic bus (in front of goal) — it was hard to find the holes,” complained Dortmund coach Lucien Favre.

“We tried everything and managed it, we ran a lot and defended a lot, but all in all, the win was deserved.”

Third-placed RB Leipzig was held to a goalless draw at home by Augsburg, who beat Dortmund last Friday and went down fighting against Bayern last month.

Mid-table Hertha Berlin crashed to a 2-1 defeat at Freiburg after the visitors captain Vedad Ibisevic cancelled out a Nils Petersen goal, but then scored an own-goal by turning the ball into the Berlin net.

AFP

Bayern End Winless Streak As Alcacer Keeps Dortmund Top

Wolfsburg’s Dutch forward Wout Weghorst (L) is fouled by Bayern Munich’s Brazilian defender Rafinha during the German First division Bundesliga football match between VfL Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich, on October 20, 2018 in Wolfsburg. John MACDOUGALL / AFP

 

Ten-man Bayern Munich ended their four-match winless streak on Saturday as Robert Lewandowski scored twice in a 3-1 win at Wolfsburg, a day after the club’s hierarchy launched an extraordinary attack on the German media.

After back-to-back league defeats, Bayern leapt from sixth to second in the Bundesliga behind Borussia Dortmund who routed Stuttgart 4-0 with Paco Alcacer claiming his seventh goal in four Bundesliga games.

Bayern got back to winning ways in Wolfsburg the day after chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and president Uli Hoeness slammed the media in Germany for “disrespectful and disgusting” reporting on star-studded Munich.

Bayern worked for the win, playing the last half an hour with ten men after Arjen Robben was sent off after receiving two yellow cards.

Head coach Niko Kovac left Thomas Mueller and Franck Ribery on the bench as Bayern broke their four-game winless streak in all competitions.

Lewandowski gave Bayern an early lead when he tucked away Thiago Alcantara’s dummied pass past Wolfsburg goalkeeper Koen Casteels.

It was the Poland striker’s first goal after drawing blanks in his last five games for club and country.

With half-time approaching, Robben earned his first booking for a blatant dive in the area before Lewandowski struck again just after the break.

The Polish striker latched on to William’s misplaced back pass and dribbled around Casteels to poke his shot into an empty net to make it 2-0.

There were nervous looks in the Bayern ranks on 57 minutes when Robben was dismissed after a foul on midfielder Elvis Rexhbecaj.

Wolfsburg pulled a goal back five minutes after Robben’s dismissal when Dutch striker Wout Weghorst buried the hosts’ first clear chance.

James Rodriguez calmed any nerves in the Bayern ranks with a stunning shot inside the post 18 minutes from time.

 Sancho nets in Dortmund romp 

In Stuttgart, Dortmund remain four points clear after their attack of Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus and Alcacer ran riot with the trio all claiming first-half goals.

Before kick-off, Dortmund’s sports director Michael Zorc revealed Borussia are set to make Alcacer’s loan stay from Barcelona permanent.

The Spaniard demonstrated why with his 11th goal this season for Dortmund and Spain to become the league’s joint top-scorer.

Fresh from making his senior England debut, Sancho, 18, put Dortmund ahead on just three minutes when he fired home after Reus’ shot was deflected into his path.

Reus then made no mistake with his second chance for his fifth league goal of the season.

Alcacer made it 3-0 after 25 minutes when his sublime chip beat the Stuttgart goalkeeper.

The hosts tightened their defence after the break, but Dortmund deserved the win as Maximilian Philipp slammed home their fourth six minutes from time.

Elsewhere, England junior international Reiss Nelson, on loan from Arsenal, scored twice as Hoffenheim warmed up for their Champions League game at home to Lyon with a 3-1 win at Nuremberg.

RB Leipzig are third after a goalless draw with Augsburg which cost them their fourth straight win.

Brazil defender Felipe was Hanover’s hero, then villain after scoring their second goal, but was then sent off in their 2-2 goal at Bayer Leverkusen, whose Karim Bellarabi scored a late equaliser.

On Friday, Serbia striker Luka Jovic, 20, became the youngest player to score five goals in a Bundesliga match as Eintracht Frankfurt romped to a 7-1 win over bottom side Fortuna Duesseldorf.

AFP

Dortmund Throw Away Four-Goal Lead To Draw Derby

 

Schalke’s midfielder Amine Harit (2ndL) celebrates after scoring a goal during Bundesliga game against Borussia Dortmund on November 25, 2017. Ina Fassbender / DPA / AFP

 

Centre-back Naldo completed Schalke’s thrilling four-goal fightback at rivals Borussia Dortmund with a 94th-minute header on Saturday as the Ruhr derby finished in a frantic 4-4 draw.

Having been four down after just 25 minutes, Brazilian Naldo’s last-gasp header brought Schalke back from the dead against troubled, 10-man local rivals Dortmund, to snatch a dramatic Bundesliga point.

“Schalke showed they have character and the mentality to offer a real spectacle,” said Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco.

Schalke, who are unbeaten since September, are third in the table, three points ahead of fourth-placed Dortmund, and five behind leaders Bayern Munich, who play later at Borussia Moenchengladbach.

The hosts had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sent off in the 72nd minute for two yellow cards with the score 4-2 after giving Dortmund an early lead, but Borussia’s defence collapsed in the second half.

Dortmund coach Peter Bosz is under increasing pressure as his side are now winless in their last six league games.

“It’s hard, you only feel disappointment,” said the Dutchman.

“When you lead 4-0, that shouldn’t have happened.

“After the red card, we didn’t play any more football, lost the ball too quickly and didn’t use our room, but I don’t want to look for excuses.”

The biggest win in a Ruhr derby — 10-0 to Schalke in 1940 — looked under threat when Dortmund raced into a 4-0 lead.

Christian Pulisic’s cross was flicked on by Nuri Sahin to the far post where Aubameyang slid the ball home on 12 minutes.

Dortmund doubled the lead six minutes later when Sahin’s free-kick was volleyed into his own net by Schalke midfielder Benjamin Stambouli.

Schalke’s goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann (2ndR) argues with Dortmund’s midfielder Nuri Sahin (R) during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04 in Dortmund,  on November 25, 2017.  Ina Fassbender / DPA / AFP

 

The Frenchman was then beaten for pace on the flank by Aubameyang, before the Gabon international fired in a superb cross for Mario Goetze to head in the third on 20 minutes.

Schalke looked dead and buried when Raphael Guerreiro volleyed home Dortmund’s fourth with just 25 minutes on the clock.

– Key substitutions –

In a bid to avert a debacle, Tedesco brought on midfielders Leon Goretzka and 20-year-old Amine Harit on 34 minutes.

The double substitution tightened things in the middle and with Schalke putting in the tackles, it was a totally different story in the second half.

The away side pulled their first goal back when Stambouli’s long floated pass was headed home by striker Guido Bergstaller on 61 minutes.

Harit pulled another goal back four minutes later, taking advantage of terrible defending to fire home at close range.

Aubameyang was given his marching orders after clattering Harit and Dortmund were barely holding on when midfielder Daniel Caligiuri buried Schalke’s third on 86 minutes.

In a frantic finale that included seven minutes of stoppage time, Schalke deservedly got their equaliser when Naldo escaped his marker at a corner.

He powered home a header, sparking wild celebrations, but tensions boiled over with the scores level for the first time.

Both Sahin and Schalke captain Ralf Faehrmann received yellow cards after the final whistle as the teams got into a shoving match.

Elswehere, RB Leipzig remained second after their 2-0 win at home to second-from-bottom Werder Bremen with goals from Liverpool-bound midfielder Naby Keita and Brazilian defender Bernardo.

Bayer Leverkusen moved up to sixth with a 1-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt with Germany forward Kevin Volland scoring the winner.

Michael Gregoritsch and Alfred Finnbogason scored for mid-table Augsburg as they came from behind to seal a 2-1 win over ten-man Wolfsburg, who had Maximilian Arnold sent off after only 11 minutes.

That was Wolfsburg’s first defeat since losing to Stuttgart in September.

AFP

Wolfsburg Fire Head Coach Andries Jonker

Andries-Jonker, Image:vfl-wolfsburg.de

Andries Jonker became the first Bundesliga head coach to be sacked this season when Wolfsburg relieved him of his duties on Monday after taking four points from as many games.

The 54-year-old Dutchman only took charge in February, when he quit as boss of Arsenal’s youth academy, and managed to keep Wolfsburg up last season, but Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at VfB Stuttgart proved to be the last straw.

Jonker’s entire backroom staff, including assistant coach and Arsenal legend Fredrik Ljungberg, have also been fired.

The new coach, who Wolfsburg have yet to name, is expected to take his first session on Monday afternoon ahead of Tuesday’s Bundesliga match at home to Werder Bremen.

Then follows a tough away match at Bayern Munich on Friday.

“We have two difficult games ahead of us this week, but we didn’t want to implement a caretaker solution, rather install a new head coach with immediate effect,” explained director of sports Olaf Rebbe.

A statement by Wolfsburg’s supervisory board said they felt the team’s development had stagnated.

“Decisive for us in taking this step was not just the impression made upon us during the game against Stuttgart, but rather based upon the perception of stagnated development amongst the team, which was to a great extent newly formed during the summer,” said Wolfsburg’s board.

“We expressly wish to thank Andries Jonker and his coaching staff, for rescuing VfL’s position in the top-flight at the last minute at the end of last season.”

AFP

Wolfsburg Sign Liverpool Striker Origi On Loan

Divock Origi . Image: Liverpoolfc

German league side Wolfsburg has signed Belgium international striker Divock Origi from Liverpool on a year-long loan transfer.

The Premier League club confirmed the clubs have reached a deal after the 22-year-old made just one appearance for the Reds this season under Jurgen Klopp.

Origi, who signed for the Reds from Lille in 2014 before spending a further year on loan with the French club, has scored 21 goals in 77 appearances for Liverpool.

Origi will end up battling Germany veteran striker Mario Gomez to play up front in the Bundesliga for the 2015 German Cup winners.

“With Divock Origi we have strengthened our attacking options, he has already proved his qualities on the national and international stage,” said Wolfsburg’s director Olaf Rebbe.

“Despite his age, he has tremendous experience.

“He is a fast, strong and dangerous forward, who will make our attacking game more variable.”

AFP

Wolfsburg Remain In Bundesliga After Play-off Victory

Wolfsburg Remain In Bundesliga After Play-off VictoryWolfsburg avoided relegation from the top tier of the Bundesliga, following a 1-0 win over Eintracht Braunschweig on Monday.

Portuguese defender Vieirinha fired in a 49th-minute winner for the Champions League quarter-finalists last season who had a 1-0 lead from the first leg.

The 31-year-old raced on to a loose ball and blasted it home for the crucial away goal after Ken Reichel missed a great chance for Eintracht in the first half.

Eintracht will stay in the second tier of the Bundesliga where they will be joined next year by relegated Ingolstadt and Darmstadt.

Rohr Calls Olarenwaju Kayode To Replace Osimhen In Friendlies

Gernot-Rohr-Nigeria-Super-Eagles-coachThe Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr, has called up Olarenwaju Kayode for their friendlies against Senegal and Burkina Faso later in March.

The Austria Vienna striker has been invited to replace Wolfsburg’s Victor Osimhen, who has been ruled out of the matches owing to an injury.

Kayode has yet to make his debut for the Super Eagles, though he has represented Nigeria at the youth level, notably playing in the 2009 Under-17 World Cup and Under-20 World Cup in 2011 and 2013.

Nigeria would face Senegal on March 23 and Burkina Faso on March 27.

Both matches would be held at the Hive Stadium in London.

Champions League: Atletico, Real Madrid Arrive For Milan Final

Champions League, Atletico, Real MadridThe city of Milan is getting ready for the final of the UEFA Champions League as arch rivals Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid compete for the coveted trophy on Saturday evening.

Majority of the Spanish fans are expected to start arriving by air, rail and road on Saturday. Fans already arrived in Milan are hoping that they would see an exciting match.

10-time European champions, Real Madrid have arrived their Milan hotel ahead of the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo was the first player off the bus and the Portuguese should be fit to play.

The Portuguese set alarm bells ringing on Tuesday when he ended training prematurely with a knock but was fit to train again the following day.

He has scored 16 goals in the competition this season.

Zinedine Zidane’s men are without defenders Raphael Varane and Alvaro Arbeloa for the game.

Meanwhile a crowd of Atletico Madrid fans gathered outside the Hotel Melia in Milan to also welcome their team as they arrived.

Atletico players briefly waved at a group of supporters, many dressed in the team’s jerseys and waving red and white flags, before entering their hotel.

While Madrid will be missing two players, Atletico have a clean bill of health.

It is a far cry from the dishevelled state in which Diego Simeone’s team arrived at the 2014 final, when they struggled with fitness after a long season and suffered key injuries.

The teams’ face off at the San Siro stadium is a repeat of the 2014 final in Lisbon which saw Real come from behind to win 4-1 after extra-time.

Champions League: Ronaldo Injury Scare Ahead Of Final

Champions League, RonaldoReal Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo says he will be fit to face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday after limping out of training.

Ronaldo left the pitch with a thigh problem following a clash with goalkeeper Kiko Casilla.

The Portuguese forward was seen showing his thigh to medical staff, receiving attention, he later described the injury as a minor scare.

“I had a small problem in the training session, a ‘sandwich’ (bocadillo) as they say in Spain. But tomorrow or the day after I will be fine,” he told reporters.

Ronaldo has not completed his last three training sessions.

Real Madrid boss, Zinedine Zidane has admitted that Ronaldo sat out a full training as a precaution.

“There will be no problem with that. We had a game among ourselves on Saturday and (Ronaldo) didn’t play, but (only) as a precaution as he felt something small.

“He is preparing for the final and I think we’ll be in good shape physically,” Zidane said.

Real Madrid Stars React To Champions League Final Qualification

Real MadridIn a repeat of the 2014 Lisbon final, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will meet each other at the San Siro on May 28 in the 2016 Champions League final.

Real Madrid beat Manchester City 1-0 to set up the all Spanish final for the second time in three seasons after a first-half own goal from Fernando was enough to secure a narrow win that barely reflected Real’s dominant.

It was a perfect night for Zinedine Zidane. He has just passed the four-month mark as Real Madrid coach and his team are now through to the Champions League final.

The Frenchman had the following to say about his team reaching the final in Milan; “I’m happy, not just for myself; it was a team effort. I’m happy for the players because what they did tonight was fantastic. We suffered because that always happens in semi-finals, but we’ve got through to the final and that is what is important for us.

“We won the game 1-0 and that shows that we had to dig in against a very strong side. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and can say that City didn’t do anything in the game. I think that they did a lot. We hardly allowed them any chances because we defended well and got things right tactically.”

On his part in the success; “I’m the coach of this team. For sure, I’m doing something right. But, it’s not just me, it’s down to everyone who works alongside me. The most important ones are the players, it’s them who allow us to enjoy the football.

“I love football and when I see them doing what they do, I’m happy. I suffer a bit more as a coach than I did as a player. I feel tense during the games. We’ve got to enjoy these moments.”

Important Goal

Madrid went ahead in the first half when Bale picked up Dani Carvajal’s pass and aimed a cross towards the far post that was deflected by Fernando past Joe Hart into the top corner.

He said of the goal that has been credited as an own goal, “The most important thing was to get the goal and that the ball ended up in the net. It doesn’t matter who scores it, the only thing that matters is that it was an important goal which has sent us through to the final. We’ve now got the chance to win another Champions League title”.

Other Real Madrid stars have also spoken about the victory and their expectations from Milan.

Left back, Marcelo said; “In the Champions League there is always a lot of tension, they are tough games. In every competition we play in, we try to do the best we can. It is difficult because they are tough competitions, but we are in the Champions League final and we have a very difficult game ahead of us. We are going into the end of season strong.”

Jesé says; “Last time I wasn’t in the final and now I have the good fortune and opportunity to be there and help the team. This year we deserve to win something and I’m happy.

“All madridistas want to win the Champions League and important things and now we have the opportunity. It is the product of months of work and in the final we have to fight till the last”.

Tough Season

Veteran defender Sergio Ramos considers it a very special night coming off a very tough season.

“After such a tough season, the hard work and the team’s togetherness means that we’re able to enjoy our second final in three years. We dug in and we worked together when we had to.

“The Champions League demands great concentration levels, we performed very well defensively and we put away the chance that we had. We must now enjoy this because it’s a special moment and it takes a lot of hard work to get to a final”.

“The team and the supporters deserve it. Once again, they got fully behind us and were our 12th man. We’ve now got to enjoy this and give our all in another final, we’ve already shown that we know how to win the final.

“It was a very special night for the Real Madrid fans and we’re really keen to bring the eleventh European title back home to our supporters.”

La Liga Quality

Cristiano Ronaldo, in his analysis of the semi-final win against Manchester City, tagged it a busy game.

“The team did well, we controlled the game and had more opportunities. We could have killed the game with a second goal and 1-0 is a small result but it is sufficient. We are in the final, which was our aim. We knew we needed to score and in the first game in Manchester we deserved to. Today as well, we were the better team and it is fair that we are in the final”.

“It is a final. We are facing Atletico again and I’m happy. This shows the quality of La Liga. I am very happy to be in the final and we still have a chance in La Liga.”

Ronaldo also had good words for the coach; “Zidane is doing a fine job. He is helping us and we are happy with his work. I admire him as a coach and as a person, and I hope that he stays with us.

“We have always been with him. He is a humble person, he likes to learn and listen to the players and it is very easy in this sense.”

Real Madrid will go in search of their eleventh European Cup title, against Atlético de Madrid at the San Siro.

It will be the fourth time that this stadium plays host to a European Cup final after the previous showdowns in 1965, 1970 and 2001.

It is the second time in the history of the European Cup that two sides from the same city face each other in the final. The first of these meetings was also between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

In a repeat of the final from two years ago, in which Real Madrid lifted the Décima in Lisbon, Zinedine Zidane’s men will be looking to win and claim their eleventh European Cup title.

UCL: Real Madrid, Manchester City Bosses Laud Players

Real MadridReal Madrid Coach, Zinedine Zidane, is pleased with his side’s 3-0 win against Wolfsburg at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Spain.

Zidane said that although it was a challenging match, he could not deny the fact that they did a good job.

“It is not easy to start how we did, scoring two goals in 15 minutes. We went in with a really high intensity (and) we showed the opposition that it was important for us to win and go through,” the French said on the club’s website.

He also commended the Whites’ messiah, Cristiano Ronaldo whom he described as the world’s best player, saying he was demonstrating what he is.

“What can I say about Cristiano Ronaldo? He is demonstrating what he is, the best player in the world. That’s what makes him a special player,” he said.

Manchester City Manager, Manuel Pellegrini, has also asked his side to go all the way in the Champions League after their historic 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).Manuel Pellegrini

Kevin De Bruyne fired city through to the last four of the league for the first time with his 76th-minute winner at the Etihad stadium.

As Madrid and City progress to the semi-final in the UEFA Champions League (UCL), Manuel Pellegrini could meet his city successor, Pep Guardiola should Bayern Munich beat Benfica on Wednesday.