Having recovered from their early 2017 slump, Portugal powerhouse Benfica are heading into the Champions League knockouts against Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund in high spirits.
The Portuguese Eagles will have every right to feel good about their chances in the Champions League matchup against Borussia Dortmund as they are heading into the knockouts much stronger than what had been the case in the group stage. Benfica struggled with a couple of prominent injuries, but with clean bill of health to report for the forthcoming match Rui Vitoria’s men will be hoping to take an advantage over their rivals at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon. Benfica are coming off from back-to-back wins in the Primeira Liga, which followed successive away defeats at Moreirense and Setubal, respectively. The most recent slum will have left no dents in the team’s morale however, as Benfica went on to recover with six goals scored and none conceded. Benfica will, however, be hoping to improve their home record in Europe’s elite competition on Tuesday which this season stands at two wins out of six matches.
Rui Vitoria is happy to report that Jonas get back to Champions League action following a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Kostas Mitroglu is another player back in the squad who will be expected to pose a great threat to BVB defences.
Not the Dortmund we know
Thomas Tuchel and his men are unrecognisable this season. Having raised the bar high with their performances and results over the last couple of seasons, Borussia Dortmund are underperforming to say the least, and the 2-1 defeat at the hands of rock-bottom Darmstadt is the latest proof. It was Dortmund’s fourth defeat in the Bundesliga this season which left them sitting in fourth place, huge 15 points behind leaders Bayern Munich. The Millionaires finished the group stage of the Champions League top of the group F in front of Real Madrid and without a single defeat, but plenty has changed since then. Namely, the atmosphere in the team is significantly different. Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang will have something to do with it as the lethal striker announced his desire to leave the club at the end of the season. Thomas Tuchel is facing a great deal of pressure and will need to make the most of his Champions League campaign if he is to salvage the season.
Sven Bender has been ruled out through an ankle injury, whereas there is a possibility that Lukasz Piszczek, Mark Schmelzer and Sebastian Rode will be unable to shake of their injury problems in time to feature.
Benfica and Borussia Dortmund are the two teams who like to compete and put in a great show in addition to win and there is a good chance we could be in for a highly-competitive match on Tuesday night.
Top pick: Both teams to score – yes 1.73 (8/11) @StanJames
Alternative pick 1: Benfica not to lose 1.57 (4/7) @Bet365
Alternative pick 2: Benfica 3.25 (9/4) @Betfair