Despite taking just one point so far, Benfica can still get back into contention for the second place in the group, obviously provided they win this game. Spartak Moscow hope to bring at least one point from Estadio da Luz and thus improve their chances of reaching the next stage.
Must-win game for Benfica
Having done so well to reach Champions League quarter-finals last season, Benfica were seen as favourites to go through from Group G, alongside Barcelona. However, the Eagles have so far failed to impress in Europe, getting just one point from first three games. Difficult fixture list can be seen as an excuse for the under-par results, given that the Eagles played Barcelona at home and Celtic and Spartak away, but the team clearly need to improve if they are to make it to Champions League knockout stages. Benfica created plenty of chances in the first match against Spartak, but could only score one goal, while some shocking defensive mistakes helped their opponents record an invaluable victory. The team have since recorded two convincing wins on domestic stage and continued to score goals for fun, so there is every chance we will see another high-scoring game when the two sides meet at Estadio da Luz.
Full-back Lorenzo Melgarejo is doubtful through injury, while forward Nolito is definitely out of the Spartak clash.
Spartak keep improving
The second-place finish in Russian Premier League was just a sign of things to come for Spartak, as the team, which were significantly reinforced during off-season, started the new campaign brightly. While showing a lot of promise in domestic championship, Unai Emery’s side produced very good performances in opening Champions League games against Barcelona and Celtic, but ended up losing both ties 3-2. Team’s attack-minded approach that let them down at the start of the campaign helped Spartak beat Benfica two weeks ago, and it is perfectly clear that Unai Emery will not be changing his tactics for the clash at Estadio da Luz. The 5-0 win over Krylya Sovetov at the weekend proved the Red and Whites are on top of their game at the moment, so it is fair to expect they will score at least once in Portugal.
Juan Insaurrlade and Artem Dzyuba are back in contention, but Emmanuel Emenike, Welliton, Andriy Dikan, Sergei Pesyakov, Sergei Parshivlyuk, Romulo and Aiden McGeady are all out.
Benfica have no choice but to attack their opponents from the off, and the odds are the Eagles will continue the impressive scoring run with third-choice keeper Rebrov forced to start for Spartak. The Russians may be missing quite a few attackers, but they should have it in them to score at least once at Estadio da Luz.
Top pick: Over 2.5 goals 1.73 (8/11) @ Ladbrokes
Alternative pick 1: Home win 1.57 (4/7) @ SkyBet
Alternative pick 2: Both teams to score 1.91 (10/11) @ 888sport