Benfica play host to Bayern Munich at their Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on Wednesday with the German champions coming to town on a one-goal lead from the first leg in Munich.
Back to winning ways
Defeat to Bayern Munich was Benfica’s first after eight consecutive triumphs and Rui Vitoria’s men are keen to get back to winning ways and stun the mighty Bavarians on home soil. Benfica managed to make a swift recovery following last week’s loss to Bayern Munich to dispatch Academica during weekend (2-1) and to keep the advantage on top of the league standings in from of arch rivals Sporting. Rui Vitoria and his men held pretty well defensively throughout the game in Munich and have even had a couple of dangerous counter-attacks, but have ultimately failed to put one past Manuel Neuer. Heading into the return leg at home Benfica will be deprived of their in-form strike partnership for the return leg. Jonas and Kostas Mitroglu have so far scored 53 goals between them this season, but having in mind that Jonas is suspended for the occasion, it will be up to Mitroglu to rise up to the challenge in Benfica’s bid to see of Bayern Munich.
Julio Cesar and Nuno Santos are both sidelined with injury and will not be able to help their team in the crucial game. Luisao is pushing for a start after his most recent recovery from injury, while Jonas is forced to sit through the match.
Bayern aiming for the title
Pep Guardiola wants to leave Bayern on a high and with a blaze and the Spaniard is expected to go full strength into the return leg in order to seal the progress to the semi-finals. Solitary goal from Arturo Vidal was enough to put Bayern in front against the resilient Portuguese, but the Bavarians are well aware of the tough challenge in Portugal. Bayern Munich are closing in on their fourth successive Bundesliga title following Dortmund’s 2-2 draw against Schalke and UEFA Champions League is among the club’s priorities in the closing stages of the season. Five games to go in the league, Bayern Munich are hoping to replicate the success from 2013 when they completed their last treble. Bayern are coming off from a 3-1 win over Stuttgart at the weekend and will be keen to extend their winning run now standing at six matches in a row.
Jerome Boateng and Holger Badstuber are still far away from full fitness, while Arjen Robben has suffered a set-back of his own and will be out of this game. Mehdi Benatia is a doubt and will be assessed on game-day.
Bayern will not settle for a 1-0 win from the first leg and are expected to attack in order to seal the win as soon as possible. Away win is on the cards, but perhaps goals can be a safer option.
Top pick: Under 2.5 goals 1.95 (19/20) @BetFair
Alternative pick 1: Away win 1.7 (7/10) @WilliamHill
Alternative pick 2: Bayern Munich to win to nil 2.75 (7/4) @StanJames