Bayern Munich have a lot of work left to do to ensure their fifth consecutive semi-final appearance as they look to defend a slender 1-0 advantage at Benfica.
The Bavarians failed to stamp their authority against a nervy Benfica in the first leg. They also failed to make full use of their home advantage and the tie is in a perfect balance as Benfica are sensing every chance of a big upset.
If the risk is not yet evident, then the last season’s fixture in the same stage says it all. Bayern Munich were beaten 3-1 by Porto in the first leg back in Portugal, but they bounced back with a 6-1 win back in Munich.
Benfica had won 8 matches in a row before the first leg defeat at Alianz Arena. They have won 21 matches out of their last 24, with 1 draw, 2 defeats.
The Portuguese side won 16 of the 19 home matches in all competitions so far this season, with 3 defeats.
Their overall record in Champions League this season is 5 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats. At home, they have won 3 and lost 1 from their 4 matches so far.
Bayern Munich are on a 6-match winning streak in all competitions. The Bavarians have lost just once in 20 matches in all competitions, with 16 wins and 3 draws.
Bayern Munich haven’t lost in any of their last 11 away games in all competitions, 8 wins and 3 draws.
Bayern were beaten by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on the match-day 3 of this season’s Champions League and that remains their only defeat in 9 matches in the competition so far. Their away record in the competition from 4 matches is 2 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss.
Benfica: Team News
Benfica will be without their top goal scorer Jonas through suspension, while experienced Brazilian goal-keeper Júlio César and defenders Lisandro López and Luisão are sidelined due to injuries.
Benfica: Expected Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1)
Moraes – Eliseu, Jardel, Nilsson, Almeida – Samaris, Renato Sanches – Fejsa, Gaitan, Pizzi – Mitroglou.
Bayern Munich: Team News
The defensive trio of Jerome Boateng, Holger Badstuber and Medhi Benatia are long term absentees for Bayer Munich due to their respective injuries. They are now joined by Robben and Kingsley Coman, but the later will be assessed closer to the kick-off.
Pep Guardiola is liklely to retain the same starting line-up he used in the first leg in Munich tie.
At the same time, Juan Bernat, Joshua Kimmich, Robert Lewandowski and Arturo Vidal are a booking away from a one match ban.
Bayern Munich: Expected Starting Line-up (4-1-4-1)
Neuer – Alaba, Bernat, Martinez, Lahm – Vidal – Ribery, Thiago, Muller, Costa – Lewandowski.
Benfica vs Bayern Munich: Head-to-Head Record
This the fourth fixture between the two teams in a two legged UEFA competition since they first met in the European Champions Cup in 1975/76. Bayern have beaten Benfica on aggregate on all occasions and the overall record from 7 matches so far read 5 wins and 2 draws in favour of the Germans.
Bayern Munich’s away record against Benfica is 1 win and 2 draws from three matches.
Benfica vs Bayern Munich: Prediction
Benfica will fancy their chances to mount an upset here and will be backing on their strong home form this season. At the same time, they hardly come across teams of Bayern’s quality this often, so this could be a different proportion for them.
Bayern on the other hand, doesn’t mind where they play and they are a team who always back themselves to win every match. Benfica must score and they must push over at some point of time and the Germany will be waiting to expose them on the break.
Unlike the first leg, goals are expected in this match and I will be backing both teams to score. And I believe a goal is very likely in the first half and this could be followed by 2 or more in the second half, which is a very good chance of seeing over 3.5 goals after 90 minutes.
Bet Bet: Over 3.5 goals @ 3.09
If you are betting for a winner, I certainly fancy Bayern to win this one outright, but it doesn’t offer good value for money and this also includes a huge risk as Benfica are expected to make Bayern sweat hard.