Two evenly matched sides should make for exciting encounter at Petrovskij Stadium in Sankt Petersburg given that both Zenit and Benfica usually stay true to their attack-minded style of football.
Zenit have really made a name for themselves over the last decade and the team from St Petersburg continue impressing fans and pundits alike across Europe.
Luciano Spalletti’s side did well to pip Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk to the second place in their Champions League group, whereas the team are on the verge of winning the Russian Premier League title.
The lack of competitive action could prove to be a problem for Zenit, but the winter break gave the Russians plenty of time to prepare for this match and that should produce good results.
Freezing weather conditions should also give the hosts an extra edge over their opponents, so odds of 2.60 (8/5) offered by William Hill on home win should be taken into consideration.
Danny and Domenico Criscito are out through injury, but Aleksandr Kerzhakov returns after the lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Malafeev – Anyukov, Hubocan, Lombaerts, Lukovic – Zyryanov, Semak, Shirokov – Lazovic, Kerzhakov, Denisov.
Benfica largely impressed in the competition so far, having won the group that also contained sides like Manchester United, Basel and Otelul Galati.
The Eagles have been absolutely brilliant on domestic stage as well and it looks as Porto’s domestic domination is set to end this season.
Jorge Jesus’ side are five points clear of their fierce rivals at the moment and they have yet to lose a league game this term.
The players are brimming with confidence after the 11-match winning run and Eagles are now 1.67 (2/3) with Ladbrokes to qualify for the next stage.
Emerson and Luisao returned into action after recovering from injury, but holding midfielder Javi Garcia is sidelined and he will be replaced by Nemanja Matic.
Probable starting line-up (4-1-4-1): Artur – Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Emerson – Matic – Nolito, Aimar, Gaitan, Rodrigo – Cardozo.