Benfica VS Borussia Dortmund Prediction
The Valentine’s Day is approaching and as much as it concerns football betting, it carries some great news to the football fans, who can celebrate their love for most popular sport as the UEFA Champions League returns to action. Tuesday night, 14.02.2017, will be very special on two of the well-known European football grounds and one of them is the “Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica” (known as “Estádio da Luz”) in Portuguese capital Lisbon, where Benfica takes on Borussia Dortmund. Without any doubt match between Benfica and Borussia Dortmund is one of the most balanced fixtures at the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League 1/8 finals. Portuguese champions Benfica reached the Round of 16 as a team on second place in Group B of this season’s UEFA Champions League group stage, while Borussia Dortmund finished on top of Group F.
H2H: Benfica vs Borussia Dortmund – Head-to-head stats
Benfica and Borussia Dortmund already share common history in UEFA competitions but it dates long time ago, back in romantic days of football. Benfica were hosts of the first leg and “Eagles” from Lisbon won 2-1 when both clubs met in first round of the 1963/64 European Champion Clubs’ Cup. António Simões and legendary Eusébio were both goal scorers for club from Portugal but their efforts were not enough, since Dortmund prevailed. That happened after a 5-0 win at German turf where Franz Brungs had a special contribution for Dortmund’s victory by hitting a hat-trick.
Match Preview: Benfica vs Borussia Dortmund 14.02.2017
Decades after their meeting in the European Champion Clubs’ Cup, both sides are set for another glorious night. Benfica and Borussia Dortmund head to the first leg of their two-legged duel in completely different mood.
As usual Benfica remains solid at the “Estádio da Luz”
Hosts from Portugal are once again topping the Primeira Liga and being inspired by a 3-0 win over Arouca on Friday night. That was a way out for Rui Vitoria’s men, who have found themselves in a poor form at the end of January – losing 3-1 from Moreirense (League Cup) and 1-0 from Vitória in Setúbal (PL). After two home wins in first half of February (3-0 vs Nacional de Madeira and Arouca), Benfica renews its Champions League campaign with greater confidence.
“Eagles” from Lisbon are usually stronger at home and fact they have lost only once at the “Estádio da Luz” proves it. That happened in last matchday of the Champions League group phase when Benfica lost to Napoli (1-2). Luckily and thanks to a remarkable 6-0 win of Dynamo Kyiv against Besiktas, Portuguese champions retained the second position. To be honest referee in that game took some really controversial decisions in Dynamo’s favour, so Benfica were absolutely pleased with that gift. It’s fully up to them whether they gonna pull out any benefits from destiny, but mostly by advantage of playing at home.
Borussia Dortmund had some difficulties last week
Borussia Dortmund can’t boast with same domestic positioning as of Benfica and Thomas Tuchel’s men travel to Portugal after a disappointing weekend performance. Dortmund had a visit at the “Jonathan-Heimes-Stadion am Böllenfalltor” in Darmstadt where on Saturday afternoon hosts won 2-1 and they even created the more scoring chances.
Losing away from home is not something embarrassing but it happened against a team which is on bottom of the Bundesliga standings, where Darmstadt 98 have won only three out of 20 games. Well, winning over Borussia Dortmund was their third victory in the 2016-17 season and it surely revives their hopes to avoid relegation. On other hand that was a slap coming right on time for “The Black and Yellows”.
Only few days earlier, on Wednesday night, Borussia Dortmund was not that far away to be eliminated from the DFB-Pokal 1/8 finals. Home crowd at the “Signal-Iduna-Park” had to tremble for more than 120 minutes as “The BVB” eventually reached the quarter-finals, but their win over Hertha BSC came after a penalty shootout.
Thomas Tuchel feels the pressure and needs to rebuild
These two results are giving an absolute contrast of efforts during past week and if final outcome against Hertha was in Borussia Dortmund’s favour, that what happened on Saturday afternoon was definitely not. Since the main stream of Bundesliga fixtures took place on Saturday, Borussia Dortmund still holds the fourth position but they can be dropped out of top four if games on Sunday end with particular results. One of the clubs that can climb above Dortmund is Hoffenheim, who currently share same number of points with “The BVB” and if they do not lose in Wolfsburg, Hoffenheim will replace “Die Borussen”. FC Cologne are on two points from Dortmund so “The Billy Goats” can also go ahead if they win in Freiburg.
Anyhow, even if Borussia Dortmund keeps its top four position this shouldn’t be a consolation as the gap between them and Bayern Munich is already 15 points. Apparently Thomas Tuchel failed to improve the squad from last season when The BVB ended second, on “just” 10 points behind Bayern.
Team News, Squads and Missing Players
“Die Borussen” travel to Portugal with some star names in the group and it seems most of them are not in form. All pre-season expectations were that Borussia Dortmund should be more competitive and ready to challenge Bayern for the title, having proven names of Mario Götze, Marco Reus, André Schürrle and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the squad. Moreover, Thomas Tuchel added more attacking strength with talented youngsters like Emre Mor, Christian Pulisic, Ousmane Dembele and latest signing – Alexander Isak.
Reality seems to be much different and Borussia Dortmund are not that impressive in the Bundesliga so far. Anyway, team can be pleased with its first position in the Champions League groups, where Dortmund were alongside Real Madrid, Legia Warsaw and Sporting CP. Furthermore, German vice-champions set a scoring record in the group stage – netting 21 goals in 6 games. As a result they finished on top of the group and without a single loss. This includes four wins and two draws vs Real Madrid (both were 2-2).
Injuries and suspensions in Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund lost to Darmstadt and Thomas Tuchel should not attribute it to the missing names. Even if some experienced players like captain Marcel Schmelzer and Lukasz Piszczek were not in the group, Dortmund still owns enough quality to cope with Darmstadt. Mario Götze was not in the weekend squad as well, where absence of Sebastian Rode, Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender forms the whole list of injured players. And if last three are injured and still not in contention, Tuchel hopes that Schmelzer, Piszczek and Götze should recover and make it to Portugal.
Possible formation of Borussia Dortmund
And if we assume Dortmund has strongest squad available, Thomas Tuchel remains unpredictable as he frequently makes changes in either formation or in the starting XI. In most occasions Dortmund starts with a 4-1-4-1 formation, but in last few weeks Tuchel prefers 3-5-2, with Aubameyang and Marco Reus on top. One is sure – he can once again surprise us with some moves in midfield or up front, but situation at the back will be biggest issue. Especially if Marcel Schmelzer and Lukasz Piszczek are not fit enough.
For comparison last weekend Dortmund started with a centre-back trio including names of Sokratis, Matthias Ginter and youngster Dzenis Burnic. We highly doubt Thomas Tuchel is willing to name same formation in Portugal, so Marc Bartra is one of the potential replacements at the back.
Raphaël Guerreiro and Emre Mor were both players who left good impressions despite the loss and if the Portuguese looks certain for his starting position in midfield, we are not sure will Mor start in that game. Tuchel can choose among players like Shinji Kagawa, Ousmane Dembele, Mario Götze (if he recovers) and Andre Schürrle, if he plans some rotations compared with squad used in Darmstadt. Which is very likely in our humble opinion.
Possible formation of Benfica
Benfica will try to contain Borussia Dortmund’s free-scoring attackers and Rui Vitória perfectly realizes the danger. His men are keeping some fresh memories from a clash against German opposition and that happened at the quarter-finals last year, when Benfica met Bayern Munich. After a narrow defeat in Bavaria and a 2-2 draw in Lisbon, Pep Guardiola’s Bayern reached the semi-finals, but Benfica have shown they’re a really stable club.
Nearly 10 months later “Eagles” are preparing themselves for another massive Champions League fixture against a Bundesliga side. It is difficult and not accurate to make comparisons between Bayern and Borussia Dortmund, but everyone would say Bayern Munich are stronger in any aspect. However, various opponents require specific formation and Benfica surely prepares completely different approach.
Injuries and suspensions in Benfica
Rui Vitória is expected to stick to a 4-4-2 formation used in most games by Benfica. His injury concerns are still the same. Left-back Alejandro Grimaldo and central defender Lisandro López are surely out, while everyone in Lisbon hopes Eduardo Salvio will be ready for Tuesday. Salvio is one of the key players in Benfica’s formation and right winger suffers from a sprained ankle. He was replaced by the Peruvian André Carrillo, who has scored one of the goals against Arouca on Friday. This might be a good sign for Vitoria, who can count on Carrillo in case Toto Salvio is not ready to be in the group, or to be on the pitch from the outset.
Meanwhile young Serb winger Andrija Zivkovic shows decent form in the past weeks, but he also misses out. Zivkovic is serving a one-game suspension and this opens place for someone between Rafa Silva or Franco Cervi on the left flank.
Champions League: Betting Prediction and Possible Lineups
Both clubs are highly tempted by a wonderful opportunity to reach the quarter-finals of the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League. Benfica and Borussia Dortmund are involved in a really balanced matchup and this makes the home advantage something extremely important to them. Thus we expect Benfica to do well and least they can do here is to avoid a defeat.
Our betting prediction is backing the home side – Asian Handicap +0.25 (0, +0.5) on Benfica. This means you will earn the whole stake if Benfica defeats Borussia Dortmund and half of it, if game ends without a winner.
Venue: “Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica”, Lisbon.
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli from Italy.
Possible Lineups of Benfica and Borussia Dortmund
SL Benfica: Ederson Moraes – Eliseu, Luisão, Victor Lindelöf, Nelson Semedo – Franco Cervi, Ljubomir Fejsa, Pizzi, Toto Salvio – Jonas, Kostas Mitroglou. (4-4-2)
Borussia Dortmund: Roman Bürki – Marcel Schmelzer, Sokratis, Marc Bartra, Lukasz Piszczek – Julian Weigl – Marco Reus, Raphael Guerreiro, Ousmane Dembele, Christian Pulisic – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. (4-1-4-1)