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:


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


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.


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.


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


”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


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


”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


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.