5 things to know about Group C of Champions League
Here are five things to know ahead of Tuesday's Group C matches in the Champions League, with leader Paris Saint-Germain visiting Benfica and Olympiakos hosting bottom-placed Anderlecht:
A SLIGHT EDGE
Olympiakos hopes to qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League for the first time since the 2009-10 season. The Greek side needs to match Benfica's result on Tuesday to go through.
Benfica and Olympiakos are level on points. However, Olympiakos has a better head-to-head record against the Portuguese club following a 1-0 home win in November. That result followed a 1-1 draw between the sides in Lisbon.
''It's all up to us, as it is not the case for Benfica,'' Olympiakos goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez Gago told the club's website. ''That's a great asset for us.''
Olympiakos finished third in Group B last season.
LIFE WITHOUT MITROGLOU
Olympiakos will miss striker Kostas Mitroglou, who became the first Greek to score a hat trick in the Champions League when Olympiakos thrashed Anderlecht 3-0 in October.
Mitroglou picked up a right knee injury in the 2-1 loss to Paris Saint-Germain two weeks ago. He helped Greece qualify for the 2014 World Cup by scoring three goals in the playoffs against Romania last month.
Olympiakos will likely start Argentine striker Javier Saviola, who was rested last weekend.
Despite Mitroglou's absence last weekend, Olympiakos beat Asteras Tripolis 2-0 Saturday to extend its lead to eight points at the top of the Greek league.
HOME SWEET HOME
Benfica will need to better Olympiakos' result on Tuesday when they entertain PSG. The Portuguese side is undefeated at the Stadium of Light in its last eight European games.
PSG may be the toughest team in the group, but Benfica has won its previous matches against the French side in Lisbon. Benfica beat PSG 3-1 in the 2006-07 UEFA Cup and 2-1 in the 2010-11 Europa League.
''It will be a very hot atmosphere,'' Benfica goalkeeper Artur told the UEFA website. ''Our fans will certainly come in large numbers. I believe it will be sold out, because we are going well in the Portuguese league, and now in the Champions League we need the support of our fans. With them we can advance to the next round.''
Benfica finished third in Group G last season but went on to reach the Europa League final. It last advanced to the knockout phase of the Champions League in 2011-12.
Benfica striker Oscar Cardozo has missed his team's last four games because of a back injury and is doubtful for Tuesday. The Portuguese club will need a greater contribution from the other forwards to have a chance against PSG.
Brazilian striker Lima and Spanish forward Rodrigo have scored three goals each in the last three matches while summer signing Miralem Sulejmani has struggled with fitness problems this season and has not found the net yet.
Paris Saint-Germain couldn't care less about its last game in the group stage. The French club will finish top of Group C whatever the result of its match against Benfica in Portugal.
PSG coach Laurent Blanc is now more focused on the French league and left Alex, Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic out of the squad.
''The French league is our goal for the end of this year since we got the job done in the Champions League,'' Blanc told a news conference. ''I'll try to start the best lineup for the games in the French league in order to take points.''
Ibrahimovic's absence comes as a relief for Benfica. The Sweden striker has scored 21 goals in all competitions for PSG this season, including two in the 3-0 win over Benfica in Paris in October.
PSG will miss Dutch fullback Gregory Van der Wiel and Italian midfielder Marco Verratti through suspension in Lisbon. It leads the French league but is under pressure from Monaco and Lille.
Associated Press writers Barry Hatton in Lisbon and Derek Gatopoulos in Athens contributed to this report.