Champions League: Anderlecht v Benfica preview
Last Updated: 26/11/13 5:47pm
Oscar Cardozo: Will miss the game with a back injury
Anderlecht head into Wednesday's UEFA Champions League clash with Benfica knowing anything less than a win will sound the death knell on their European aspirations for yet another season.
The Belgian outfit are yet to post a win in Group C and are on course to finish bottom of their section for a seventh successive Champions League campaign.
Anderlecht suffered a 2-0 loss to Benfica on matchday one before shipping eight goals in successive defeats to Olympiacos and group leaders Paris St Germain.
John van den Brom's men briefly threatened a shock when they took the lead in the return with PSG in Paris last time out, but were swiftly pegged back in a 1-1 draw.
The result at least stopped the rot and Anderlecht will be hopeful of better still against Benfica, who they trail by three points with two matches left.
A win would see Anderlecht take the fight for third place and a Europa League berth down to the wire, while second place also remains a remote prospect.
The hosts should again be able to call on midfielder Ronald Vargas, who is back in action after missing much of the past two and a half seasons with a string of knee problems.
After undergoing surgery in the summer, Vargas featured in a 2-1 league loss at Charleroi at the weekend, turning in a performance that had Van den Brom purring.
Vargas expects to be deployed from the bench against Benfica on Wednesday, and said: "I dream of playing in the Champions League again.
"I cannot play 90 minutes yet, but I can add creativity to the team as a substitute."
Vargas' return is a rare piece of good news for Anderlecht, who lost striker Matias Suarez to torn knee ligaments last month and have been without midfielder Guillaume Gillet due to a deep cut on his knee, while goalkeeper Silvio Proto (ankle) is also still sidelined.
Jorge Jesus' Benfica travel to Brussels knowing they need just a point to be sure of securing third place and continuing their European campaign into the new year.
After opening with victory over Anderlecht back in August, Benfica have since lost 3-0 at PSG and taken just a point from two matches with Olympiacos to sit three points behind the Greek side.
Second place still remains a realistic target for Benfica, although they would need both PSG and Anderlecht to take points off Olympiacos over the next two matchdays for that to happen.
The visitors are without midfielder Ruben Amorim (knee) and striker Oscar Cardozo (back) but midfielder Miralem Sulejmani (thigh) has been named in the 22-man travelling party and could feature.
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UEFA Champions League
Wed 27th Nov - Group D
CSKA Mosc1 - 3Bay Munich
Man City4 - 2Plzen
Wed 27th Nov - Group A
Shak Donetsk4 - 0Sociedad
Leverkusen0 - 5Man Utd
Wed 27th Nov - Group B
Juventus3 - 1FC Cop'hagen
R Madrid4 - 1Galatasaray
Wed 27th Nov - Group C
Anderlecht2 - 3Benfica
PSG2 - 1Olympiakos
UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|1||Paris St Germain||6||13|
UEFA Champions League Group D
|3||FC Viktoria Plzen||6||3|
UEFA Champions League Group E
|4||FC Steaua Bucuresti||6||3|
UEFA Champions League Group F
UEFA Champions League Group G
|2||Zenit St. Petersburg||6||6|
UEFA Champions League Group H