Monday, December 11, 2017

Prediction: Benfica vs Borussia Dortmund


Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: bet365

Both Benfica and Borussia Dortmund must have been quite satisfied with the outcome of the Champions League Draw, but it is the Eagles who head into the game in better spirits than the opposition. The Millionaires have largely struggled in recent weeks, although we shouldn’t forget that they pipped holders Real Madrid to a first place in their group.

Benfica

Benfica are enjoying yet another successful season as they are currently top of the Primeira Liga standings, although they have allowed arch rivals Porto to close the gap to just one point. Unexpected home draw with Boavista and 1-0 loss at Vitoria Setubal gave the Dragons a lifeline, although the Eagles have since returned to the right track. Benfica went on to record 3-0 wins over Nacional and Arouca, making sure they remained at the top of the league. The Estadio da Luz outfit will now face a much tougher test as they play host to Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 stage tie, but the good news is that head coach Rui Vitoria returns from a domestic suspension. Benfica didn’t really impress in their previous CL fixtures at home, winning just two of their last six games, scoring mere seven goals in the process, while conceding as many. The Eagles will be stronger when compared to the group stage seeing as how key attacker Jonas has returned into action after a lengthy spell on the sidelines and together with Kostas Mitroglou, the Brazilian should prove a handful for the BVB back line.

Team News

There have been no fresh injury worries for Rui Vitoria, although Eduardo Salvio should come in for Andrija Zivkovic on the right flank.

Borussia Dortmund

Taking into account the usual standard of their performances, we can safely say that this is shaping up to be quite a disappointing season for Borussia Dortmund. The Millionaires are not only out of the title chase in German Bundesliga, but they are in danger of missing out on a top 4 finish altogether, with just 9 wins in 20 games a record we are not used to seeing next to BVB. The weekend’s 2-1 loss to struggling Darmstadt will place extra pressure on the players ahead of the all-important clash with Benfica, but they will certainly attempt to use the successful Champions League campaign to try and get back on the right track. Head coach Thomas Tuchel has faced all sorts of selection worries of late, which is one of the reasons for the under-par performances, but it is the lack of confidence that is the biggest cause for concern at the moment. The good news is that Borussia are unbeaten in this year’s Champions League with four wins and 21 goals scored, while the 2-1-0 record on the road gives them confidence ahead of the trip to Estadio da Luz.

Team News

Marco Reus and Matthias Ginter have proved their fitness and they should be in contention, but Mario Gotze, Lukasz Piszczek and Marcel Schmelzer are all expected to miss out.

Key Factors to Consider

  • This will be the first meeting between Benfica and Dortmund after 53 years
  • They also met in the Last 16 stage with Dortmund winning 6-2 on aggregate
  • Benfica won two of last six home games in UCL, scoring 7 goals
  • Dortmund are unbeaten in this year’s competition (W4 D2)
  • BVB won 6 of last 9 away games in UCL, bagging 22 goals (D1 L2)

Conclusion

Benfica have played some entertaining games at their Estadio da Luz this season and with Borussia Dortmund also expected to adopt a positive approach, we could easily see goals galore on Tuesday evening.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: bet365

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