Following the amazing comeback against Juventus that saw the Bavarians make it to the last eight, Bayern Munich will be looking to avoid any surprises when they host Benfica at Allianz Arena. The Eagles recorded a double win over Zenit to continue their Champions League campaign, but they will have to be at their best if they want to keep the tie alive ahead of the return leg.
Bayern Munich are still in contention to win the treble of major trophies, but while things are going according to plan on domestic stage, the Bavarians were really close to crashing out of the Champions League in the last 16 stage. Bayern Muncih first squandered a two-goal lead in the first leg against Juventus and had to settle for a 2-2 draw, before they conceded two early goals in the return leg. But, they then staged a remarkable comeback, netting two late goals to take the tie to extra time before adding another two to secure their place in the last eight. The Bavarians probably expect a much easier task when facing Benfica, but the reality is they are not exactly in the best possible shape at the moment. Following said return leg against Juventus, Bayern recorded 1-0 wins over Koln and Eintracht Frankfurt, and they will have to show some improvement if they want to justify the favourites’ tag. The Bavarians did win their last 10 home fixtures in the Champions League, scoring impressive 40 goals in the process, while conceding just six goals in that period.
Douglas Costa and Joshua Kimmich should be recalled to the side, while Javi Martinez has finally returned into action.
Arjen Robben looks set to miss out through a groin problem, but Kingsley Coman should return after missing the Eintracht game with a minor knock.
Benfica have seriously raised the club’s profile over the past few years, with the Portuguese giants now challenging for major domestic and European trophies. The Eagles finished as Europa League runners up in 2013 and 2014, but they have now reached the final stages of the Champions League. The most important thing is that Benfica are on course to make it three league trophies in a row, while any European success would be an added bonus. The Eagles were quite convincing in the last 16 stage clash against Zenit, winning both legs to secure their place in the quarter-finals, and even though they are now set to face mighty Bayern Munich, they do have reason for optimism. Benfica appear to be in a very good moment, having won eight successive games in all competitions, as well as winning 19 of last 20. The likes of Jonas and Mitroglou have established an excellent attacking partnership, and with Nico Gaitan playing the best football of his career, we would not be surprised if Rui Vitoria’s men score at least once at Allianz Arena.
Nicolas Gaitan has recovered from a minor knock and he will take his place in the starting line-up, while Lisandro Lopez is back in contention.
Goalkeeper Andre Ferreira also returns, but full-back Silvio Azevedo has been left out of the squad traveling to Munich.
Key Factors to Consider
- This will be the first ever meeting between Bayern and Benfica
- Bayern won last ten Champions League matches at home
- The Bavarians kept four clean sheets in last five games
- Benfica are on an eight-match winning run
- The Eagles won last 11 away games in all competitions
Bayern Munich have been far from impressive of late, so there is no point in backing the Bavarians at such low odds. Taking into account their defensive problems and Benfica’s formidable attack, backing both teams to score seems the right thing to do this time out.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 3/2
Bookmaker: William Hill