- Benfica host Club Brugge in the return leg of their Champions League last 16 clash and head into this one with a two-goal advantage.
- The Águias have yet to suffer a defeat in 90 minutes since December and have won all four of their last consecutive matches.
- Brugge have just one victory in their last six games and a turnaround for Scott Parker’s side seems almost impossible.
Midfielder Chiquinho had been a regular in the Benfica starting lineup of late but missed the last match at home to Famalicao due to injury. He is a doubt for the second leg here and is unlikely to feature. Fredrik Aursnes and Florentino Luis will likely continue in the middle of the park.
Goncalo Guedes was also absent from the Famalicao victory due to a knee injury and it is unlikely that he features here. With the hosts already two up, it is not expected that manager Roger Schmidt risks the 26-year-old for this one.
Julian Draxler has suffered a severe injury since the first leg and will be out for the rest of the season, whilst full-back Mihailo Ristic will also remain out due to injury.
For the visitors, they will have midfielder Kamal Sowah suspended after he received a yellow card in the first leg. Parker will also be without Andreas Skov Olsen and Jack Hendry as they are facing respective ankle and hip issues.
Champions League Form
A Joao Mario penalty put Benfica a goal up in the first leg before a late David Neres finish secured a two-goal advantage for the Águias heading into the second. After defeating Ajax at the first knockout stage last term, Schmidt’s side are now in a good position to secure their status in the quarter-finals and will have the backing of their home support at the Estadio da Luz as well.
Benfica remain undefeated in this year’s competition, dropping points in just two of their group stage matches. They will be hoping to at least match last season’s quarter-final finish, especially after their first leg result.
Brugge now face a tough task of overturning the two-goal deficit and will be hoping they can channel some of their earlier Champions League form. A 4-0 victory away to fellow Portuguese outfit FC Porto back in September will provide the team with good belief that they can defeat Benfica on Tuesday.
However, the Belgian side are not in the best of form in the competition of late and have failed to find victory in any of their last four Champions League matches, suffering two draws and two defeats.
UCL 22/23 Key Stats:
Goals For: Benfica 18, Brugge 7
Goals Against: Benfica 7, Brugge 6
Both Teams to Score %: Benfica 71.4%, Brugge 0%
Over 2.5 Goals%: Benfica 42.9%, Brugge 28.6%
The first ever meeting between the two clubs ended in a 2-0 victory for Benfica last week as they left the Jan Breydel Stadion with the advantage. Brugge will be hoping they can turn around their maiden entrance at the Champions League knockout stages in the second leg here.
The Benfica faithful will be hoping that they can reach the quarter-final stage in back-to-back Champions League campaigns but will be wary of their 2016/17 performance. Despite heading into the second leg with a 1-0 lead over Borussia Dortmund, the Águias were defeated 4-0 at the Westfalenstadion.
Since picking up a 2-0 win in the first leg, Benfica have won all three of their Primeira Liga fixtures, conceding just one goal in the process. A 3-1 home win over Boavista was followed by 2-0 triumphs over Vizela and Famalicao.
Both Goncalo Ramos and Joao Mario have continued their excellent form too, having scored a combined five goals in their last three league matches. The pair will be tough to stop on Tuesday and will be hoping to leave their mark.
Parker’s woes in Belgium still remain and he is yet to find any real form with the Blauw-Zwart. Brugge followed up their 2-0 first leg defeat with a 2-2 draw away to Cercle Brugge in the derby match, before picking up an impressive 2-0 win at home to Gent. Nevertheless, a 3-0 defeat away to relegation-bound Oostende last time out doesn’t bode well heading into this one.
Prediction & Suggested Bets
Benfica 3-0 Brugge @ 17/2 Benfica are flying at the moment and with both Mario and Ramos on form, we could see this ending in a difficult night for Brugge. The Belgian side are struggling to find any sort of momentum and Parker’s days look numbered, picking up just one win in their last six.
Goncalo Ramos Anytime Goalscorer @ 11/10 The 21-year-old is in fantastic form of late, scoring three goals in Benfica’s last two home games. He has also netted five goals in this year’s Champions League campaign so far and could be at hand to put Brugge away here.
Total Match Goals Over 2.5 @ 4/6 The visitors will have to come flying out of the blocks if they are to stand any chance of getting back into the tie. This will likely leave their leaky defence very open, allowing the hosts the perfect opportunity to capitalise and secure a comfortable win.
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