Two heavyweights in their own right, the mighty ‘Águias’ face off against the reigning European champions Chelsea. Having met for the first time in both clubs long history only last year, a two-legged Champions League quarter-final tie, the players and coaches will know what to expect from their opposition.
Chelsea were victorious in both legs of that quarter-final on their way to lifting the famous trophy, before mounting the shortest title defence in the history of the competition earlier this season, finishing third place in their group and finding themselves relegated to the relative obscurity of the Europa League.
A solid effort in this competition however, has of course granted them a solid opportunity to bag some silverware for this season. After defeat in the Club World Cup final at the hands of Corinthians, elimination from the FA Cup at the semi-final stage by the hands of runners-up Manchester City and the pain of seeing rivals Manchester United clinch the Premier League title with time to spare, the prospect of missing out on another piece of silverware will be too much for Chelsea fans.
Benfica, meanwhile, are one point behind first placed Porto in the Portuguese Superliga with one game to play, a fixture sandwiched between this game and the Portuguese cup final against Vitória de Guimarães, so the Portuguese can still seal a treble for this season.
It is clear that the Blues have a lot more to lose, but with all their attacking talent, Benfica will be sure to make them work to seal the trophy. On paper there is no doubt that Chelsea are the stronger team, but with Champions League football still hanging in the balance for next season, will surely be cautious not to expend too much energy on this final, something that Benfica will not even have considered. The Eagles will give 110% in this game, and if the Londoners don’t match that tenacity and work-rate, could find themselves disappointed yet again.
One in with a chance of recording one of the best seasons in their clubs history, another teetering on the edge of absolute embarrassment, this final quite simply has the makings of a classic. Keep your eyes on this one.