The sales of superstars David Luiz, Angel di Maria and Fabio Coentrao could have crippled Benfica. The financial clout of Portuguese clubs and the strength of the domestic league does not allow to keep players of the level of talent of those three, though Benfica are a big enough side that they were able to hold out for a king's ransom in all three cases instead of taking the first decent offer that came long. They've taken the money raised from those sales and purchased an entirely new squad, and that squad is becoming one of the best in Europe.
Benfica are undefeated in their 12 matches in both the Liga and the Champions League, with nine wins and three draws. Oscar Cardozo's finishing is back, while Nolito and Axel Witsel have proven to be spectacular signings. Fellow new arrivals Artur, Ezequiel Garay and Bruno Cesar have all been effective, while Javier Saviola and Pablo Aimar have returned to full fitness. Benfica are not only challenging Porto for the top place in Portugal, they're looking like a lock for a Champions League knockout stage place.
On Matchday 3, Benfica went to Basel and won 2-0 in Switzerland, with Cesar and Cardozo scoring the goals. Marco Streller is out for Basel with a stomach virus. Basel seems to be a team that loves the underdog role, but without Streller, they're only going to get anything out of that role if Benfica doesn't take them seriously. That seems highly unlikely, and this match is setting up perfectly for Benfica to take three points and a place in the knockout stages.
Benfica vs. FC Basel kicks off at 3:45 pm ET, 7:45 pm GMT. We'll have coverage of all of Wednesday's Champions League action in our UEFA Champions League Wednesday, Matchday 4 StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, check out SB Nation Soccer.