Best Odds: 19/20
Borussia Dortmund were incredibly unfortunate to suffer a 1-0 loss in the first leg, but they cannot afford to lament over their destiny, but rather need to give their best to secure progress to the next stage. Benfica are in a very good position after the first leg, but it remains to be seen whether they can stop the revived Millionaires in their tracks.
With several star players leaving in the summer, this was always going to be a difficult season for Borussia Dortmund, but the Millionaires are giving their best to keep the results respectable nonetheless. After they had succumbed to an unexpected defeat to Darmstadt, Thomas Tuchel’s charges went on to produce a very good performance in the first leg against Benfica, but eventually had to settle for a 1-0 defeat after missing a host of clear-cut chances, including a penalty. The team have since showed a great deal of character to return to the right track and big wins over Wolfsburg (3-0), Freiburg (3-0) and Bayer Leverkusen (6-2), so it would appear as though the hosts head into the second leg against Benfica in very good spirits. Apart from Marco Reus, who has struggled for form of late due to a succession of injuries, all the other attackers seem to be in very good form and we wouldn’t bet on the Eagles progressing to the next stage. The Millionaires have yet to lose a home game this season, winning 12 of their 17 fixtures at Signal-Iduna Park this term.
Star forward Marco Reus is set to miss out after picking up a thigh problem in the 6-2 hammering of Bayer Leverkusen, with Christian Pulisic set to replace him.
Thomas Tuchel looks set to stick to his 3-4-2-1 formation, but Sven Bender, Mario Gotze, Alexander Isak, Sebastian Rode and Joo-Ho Park miss out as well.
Benfica have seriously raised the club’s profile over the last few years, winning three successive Primeira Liga trophies and reaching back to back Europa League finals, although the long wait for a European title continues. The Eagles have done well this season, climbing to the league summit, although they are just one point clear of arch rivals FC Porto with 10 games to go. Meanwhile, Benfica progressed from a difficult Champions League group that also contained Napoli, Besiktas and Dynamo Kiev before somehow defeating Borussia Dortmund in the first leg. However, the reality is that the Eagles were completely outclassed at their Estadio da Luz, and they will have to show serious improvement if they want to make it to the quarter-finals. Benfica did win each of their four games since the clash against the Millionaires, but three narrow wins against some of league’s weakest sides are enough to suggest that Rui Vitoria’s men are not exactly on top of their game at the moment. It has to be noted that Benfica didn’t do too well on recent European travels, losing 10 of last 19 away fixtures in the Champions League.
Holding midfielder Ljubomir Fejsa has failed to recover from injury, but Filipe Augusto is back in contention, although he is unlikely to start.
Key Factors to Consider
- Borussia scored 12 goals in last three games
- The Millionaires are unbeaten at home this season
- Benfica lost 10 of last 19 away fixtures in UCL
- The Eagles scored from the only shot on target in the first leg
- Aubameyang scored 4 goals in last two appearances
Benfica appear to have suffered a serious slump in form and having struggled to match Borussia on home soil, we don’t see how they are going to show considerable improvement in the return leg. The Millionaires, on the other hand, have been on fire of late and we expect them to secure progress to the next stage.
Best Odds: 19/20
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!