Bayern Munich must be careful not to underestimate Benfica in their Champions League quarter-final tie, Hans-Jorg Butt has warned.
Bayern entertain Benfica at the Allianz Arena in the first leg on Tuesday, with the return fixture at the Estadio da Luz taking place eight days later.
Retired goalkeeper Butt spent four seasons at Bayern from 2008 after spending the previous campaign at Benfica and is confident the Portuguese champions will provide stiff competition as they look to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1989-90 – when they finished as runners-up to AC Milan.
In order to progress, though, the Lisbon-based side will need to overcome the Bundesliga champions for the first time in what will be their seventh attempt.
If Bayern are to book a place in the last four for a fifth successive campaign, Butt insists they cannot take Benfica lightly.
“The danger is that they can underestimate Benfica,” he said in an interview with Abendzeitung Munchen.
“The club has developed very well and has again been helped by the good contacts to very, very good players from South America.
“Benfica are not in the quarter-finals of the Champions League for no reason – it is no coincidence. They are one of the biggest clubs in the world, even if they have not been particularly successful internationally in recent years.
“Clearly, Bayern is the favourite and I believe they will progress, but it will not be a walk into the semi-finals.”
Pep Guardiola’s team required extra-time heroics to overcome Juventus in the previous round and have suffered just one defeat in 14 competitive matches in 2016.
Benfica are in a similarly rich vein of form, with a pair of wins over Zenit St Petersburg in the last 16 forming part of a run which includes just one loss in their previous 22 matches in all competitions.
A 5-1 win over Braga on Friday, in which Jonas scored his 30th league goal of the season – a tally higher than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have managed in La Liga – will provide a huge confidence boost ahead of their trip to Munich.
But Rui Vitoria will be without goalkeeper Julio Cesar (thigh), defensive duo Lisandro Lopez (thigh) and Luisao (arm), as well as Nuno Santos (knee).
Holger Badstuber (ankle) and Jerome Boateng (groin) remain long-term absentees for Bayern, while Javi Martinez (knee) and Arjen Robben (thigh) are doubts.
Kingsley Coman sat out the 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday with a slight muscle injury and Franck Ribery staked his claim for a starting berth with a phenomenal overhead kick to secure the win.
Key Opta stats:
– Bayern Munich have knocked out Benfica in each of their three previous ties in European competition (1975-76 European Cup, 1981-82 European Cup, 1995-96 UEFA Cup).
– Benfica have lost all three of their away games against Bayern Munich, conceding 13 goals, an average of 4.3 per game.
– Bayern Munich have won their last 10 Champions League home games, their best ever run in the competition, scoring 40 goals and conceding only six along the way.
– Among the quarter-finalists, Benfica are the only team alongside Barcelona to have scored in all eight of their Champions League games this season.
– Pep Guardiola has reached the quarter-finals in each of his seven seasons as coach in the Champions League.