WILL DYER (@w2Dyer) puts us on the right track for Valentine’s Day with a Champions League preview. Will Benfica prove a tougher nut to crack for Dortmund than their city rivals did in the previous round or can Thomas Tuchel rejoice in Bundesliga escapism once more?
Benfica v Borussia Dortmund | Wednesday 19:45 | BT Sport 3
Thomas Tuchel takes his stuttering Borussia Dortmund to Portugal for another knock-out game.
Last season they progressed past Porto in the Europa League Last 32 with 2-0 and 1-0 victories. This time they make the trip to Lisbon though and they have the advantage of a second leg at home.
The Black and Yellows are almost two thirds of the way through their league season and find themselves eight points adrift of second-place Red Bull Leipzig and recently overtaken by Eintracht Frankfurt after defeat at bottom dwellers Darmstadt on Saturday.
Luckily for Borussia, everyone else in the top-seven except from Bayern Munich also lost in an exceedingly odd weekend in Germany. It’s still far from ideal preparation for facing Benfica.
Black and Yellows Off Colour
The two clubs haven’t met since the European Cup in 1963. Dortmund are without Mario Götze who doesn’t make the matchday squad but in truth has been a bit part player this season anyway.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang must be feeling the weight on his shoulders when it comes to goal-scoring. The Gabonese has scored 17 Bundesliga goals this season, 13 more than any other player and 43% of their goals in that competition.
In the Champions League it’s a much better picture. The striker has four goals, just 20% of the total of 20 that his team have bagged. The other crucial forward players to Tuchel’s plan are Ousmane Dembele and Marco Reus; both have recovered from weekend knocks.
Largely speaking, BVB are not in the best place. Fan trouble in the game against Leipzig has also taken a shine off this season further and the rumours around Tuchel and the Arsenal job won’t be doing any good.
As for Benfica, it’s business as usual in another title race that they look like winning.
Current manager, Rui Vitoria, has a 75% win ratio since his appointment in 2015, 5% better than his predecessor and now rival Jorge Jesus. Vitoria holds a respectable W7-D4-L5 record in the Champions League with the Eagles.
As for Benfica in general, their record at the Estado da Luz in Europe is supreme. Since 2004 they have a W24-D8-L9 record. Bayern Munich failed to win there last season and in general I think Portuguese sides are underrated at home in European competition.
Dortmund’s relief this season has come in the Champions League. They topped Group F over Real Madrid and helped knock out Benfica’s city rivals, Sporting, in the process by beating them twice.
However, I’m not reading too much into those results as both victories against Lisbon were by one goal margins and Sporting are not having the best season lagging behind in the Primeira Liga in third place.
The Black and Yellows away record in the Champions League for the same period as above reads W8-D5-L8. All things considered I don’t think Dortmund deserve to be the 7/5 favourites to win this tie.
A defeat in the first leg at home would be catastrophic to Benfica’s chances of progression and I fancy them to get something from the game. The Eagles +0.0 on the Asian Handicap looks well priced at 17/13 with 188Bet. The same as a Draw No Bet wager, just better value.
Benfica vs Borussia Dortmund – Benfica +0 Asian Handicap (17/13 188Bet)