Bayern Munich host Benfica for the first leg of UEFA Champions League quarter-finals at Allianz Arena on Tuesday night.
The Bavarians will be looking for their fifth consecutive semi-final appearance at the expense of a Benfica team, who themselves are keen on their first semi-finals since since 1990. Bayen Munich came back from 2 goals down against Juventus in the round of 16 and eventually emerged as 4-2 winners after taking the match into the extra time. While Benfica outplayed Zenith St. Petersburg by winning both legs by 1-0 and 2-1.
This will be second successive occasion that the German champions are facing a Portuguese opposition in the quarter finals of the competitions. Last season, they were drawn against FC Porto in the round of 16. They were comprehensively beaten 3-1 in the first leg in Portugal, but came back strongly in the return leg at Munich thrashing their opponents 6-1 to book a date with Barcelona in the semi-finals.
Bayern Munich are coming on the back of consecutive league win, but both by 1-0 against FC Koln and Eintracht Frankfurt, which indicates that the goals started drying up.
The Bavarians have lost only once in their last 18 matches in all competitions and 14 of them are wins.
They are unbeaten in Champions League this season with a massive goal scoring record of 18 goals from 4 matches and conceding just 3.
Benfica are on the peak of their form lately and have won all of their last 8 matches in all competitions. They last tasted defeat against arch rivals Porto in the Portuguese League fixture on 12th February 2016.
Their overall record in Champions League this season is 5 wins, 2 draws and a loss. And six of their eight matches in the competition this season have seen over 2.5 goals.
Bayern Munich: Team News
Jerome Boateng and Holger Badstuber are long term absentees for Bayer Munich due to their respective injuries.
Javi Martinez is back to full fitness and could feature at center back as youngster Joshua Kimmich is also a doubt due to muscular problems.
Robben is recovering from illness and will be closely monitored towards the last minutes of the kick-off.
Pep Guardiola has been experimenting with his formation in Bundesliga, but he is likely to settle to the 4-14-1 formation for this crucial tie.
Bayern Munich: Expected Starting Line-up (4-1-4-1)
Neuer – Alaba, Benatia, Martinez, Lahm – Alonso – Ribery, Vidal, Muller, Costa – Lewandowski.
Benfica: Team News
The Portuguese side will be without experienced Brazilian goal-keeper Júlio César, who is out with a thigh injury and the 22-year old Ederson Moraes could make his second start in the Champions League.
In defense, both Lisandro López and Luisão are sidelined due to injuries, while Jardel is back from suspension and could partner Nilsson Lindelöf at center half.
Midfielder Andreas Samaris, who played as a make-shift center back against Zenith could partner young prodigy Renato Sanches in the defensive midfield, with the likes of Jonas and Gaitan starting in the attacking third alongside in-form Mitroglou.
Benfica: Expected Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1)
Moraes – Eliseu, Jardel, Nilsson, Almeida – Samaris, Renato Sanches – Jonas, Gaitan, Pizzi – Mitroglou.
Bayern Munich vs Benfica: Head-to-Head Stats
The teams have met on six occasions in European Competitions and Bayern won 4 out of them, while 2 of those ended in 0-0 stalemate.
The first meeting was in the quarter-finals of the 1975/76 European Champion Clubs’ Cup. A goalless draw in the first leg at Lisbon was followed by a 5-1 win in the second leg at Munich.
Their next meeting was in 1981/82 European Cup second round, again a goalless draw in Portugal backed up by a 4-1 win for the Bavarians at home to progress to the next round.
The latest meeting was during the 1995/96 UEFA Cup third round, Bayern Munich winning both ties 4-1 at home and 3-1 away. Jürgen Klinsmann scored 6 goals in the tie, all 4 goals in the first leg and 2 in the away leg.
- Bayern hold a 100% home record against Benfica, with 3 out of 3 wins.
- Bayern have never lost to Benfica in European meetings, 4 wins, 2 draws.
- This will be the first meeting between the two sides since 1996.
Bayern Munich vs Benfica: Prediction
Bayern Munich are heavy favorites for this clash, considering their strong home form in the competition in recent seasons. They have some players missing through injury, but a strong set of fringe players assure Pep that there is nothing to worry. And you can expect an adventurous attacking Bayern Munich from the moment whistle blows.
Benfica are on a 9 match winning streak in all competitions, but in all honesty they hardly come across teams like Bayern Munich. Moreover the injuries to goal keeper Julio Cesar and the defensive duo Luisao and Lisandro Lopez are a huge blow. At the same time, they are a real force to reckon in the attacking third.
I predict an easy win for Bayern Munich and also they will win this by a heavy margin ensuring the semi-final berth before the return leg Estádio da Luz in a week’s time. Bayern’s goal scoring form at home in Champions League also means that there is a good chance of seeing over 2.5 goals in this match and very likely that both team could score.
Recommended Bet: Bayern Munich Handicap (0:1) @ 1.52