Benfica will be hosting Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their round of sixteen Champions League tie. Benfica should be a well motivated team, being in first position of the Portuguese league, but they will certainly know about the difficulties of playing against Borussia Dortmund due to their fair experience in this competition. Rui Vitória will still have Alex Grimaldo unavailable for this match and Eliseu is expected to replace him in defence again. Despite being an experienced player, Eliseu is not as effective in defence as the Spaniard and it could be something that Borussia Dortmund take advantage of. Jonas has a small injury and missed the last training session, so he is doubtful. If Jonas does not recover, Rui Vitória should be preparing a plan B with a more defensive 4-2-3-1 formation, in which Rafa Silva will probably play behind Mitroglou. Benfica know of the difficulty of winning in Germany, so they will be hungry to get a win at home.
Borussia Dortmund make this trip after a disappointing 2-1 loss against Darmstadt at the weekend. Coach Tuchel has a tough job to get his players ready for this next challenge. For this match, Götze remains out and is the most important absence, but Schmelzer and Piszczek are back. Tuchel should switch to a 4-1-4-1 formation after some experiments and rotations in Darmstadt. Borussia Dortmund will mostly look to stay undefeated here. Their approach will likely be balanced for most of the match, as Tuchel should be wary of Benfica’s qualities. Given the importance of the away goal rule, they’ll definitely try to threaten and score at least 1 goal in this 1st leg. The defence looks quite shaky and Tuchel will demand improvements there.
Verdict & Prediction
Benfica remain a motivated team after staying top of the league, but they are now feeling some pressure due to the fact that Porto are now only one point behind in the standings. Benfica may have some possible anxiety due to the uncertainty surrounding the fitness of their main star Jonas and that should be something that gives Borussia Dortmund a lift. Nonetheless, this should be a highly competitive game in midfield, in which both teams will have fair opportunities to score, but Borussia will be more pleased with a draw than the home team since they will play the second leg in Germany.
Prediction: Benfica +0.25 Asian Handicap
Odds: 2.00 Pinnacle, SBOBET