Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
Benfica v Bayern Munich | Wednesday 13 April | Estadio da Luz | 20:45
Benfica will return to the Estadio da Luz in decent shape having managed to restrict Bayern Munich to just a solitary goal at the Allianz Arena.
The goal, which separates the two sides, came courtesy of Arturo Vidal who found the back of the net with only two minutes of the game having been played. We will hopefully see a bit more goal mouth action, this time around, as while the first leg did provide some intriguing football, it was spoiled somewhat by the lack of goals.
To Win (90 Mins)
Benfica 4/1 | Draw 27/10 | Bayern 13/20
The Portuguese champions will come into this one confident of overturning Bayern’s slender lead in front of their home faithful.
The Estadio da Luz will be a sea of red and white on Wednesday evening. While UEFA frown upon supporters lighting flares, you can bet your bottom dollar that a few Benfica fans will be providing a pyrotechnics show on game day. This is likely to create a rather hostile atmosphere that the Bayern squad will have to contend with.
Whether Benfica’s players can provide some fireworks of their own is still up for debate. Rui Vitoria’s side demonstrated that they are capable defensively at the Allianz, but they didn’t really provide an attacking threat at the last week. Yes, they had a chance to equalize late on in the first leg through Brazilian striker Jonas, but his deflected shot was the only real opportunity that the Lisbon side conjured up.
The Brazilian is likely to be Benfica’s biggest attacking again. Jonas, who was once dubbed “the worst striker in the world’ by Gremio fans after he missed three golden opportunities to score for his former club during a Copa Libertadores tie, has enjoyed a stellar twelve months.
The former Gremio man has scored 30 goals in 29 league games for Benfica this season. While his goal scoring exploits in the league are up there with the best strikers in European football’s records, his Champions League stats are far less impressive.
The hitman has only managed to grab two goals in nine Champions League outings this term. He will need to improve on this come Wednesday if his side are to advance to the semi-finals of European club football’s most prestigious competition.
Pep Guardiola's men come into this one in the driving seat, but will know their lead is not an insurmountable one.
We all know the quality this Bayern side boasts, but quality isn’t the be all and end all in football – just ask the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City. Thankfully for Bayern fans, though, Guardiola's side aren’t just a bunch of individuals strutting their stuff on European football's most hallowed grounds.
Bayern Munich epitomise what a football team should be. Their world class players, of which there are too many to list, aren’t afraid to get stuck in and track back when the going gets tough, and believe you me, it’s going to be tough going at the Estadio da Luz this Wednesday.
I doubt that Guardiola will set up his stall and look to defend the one goal lead ala Chelsea under Jose Mourinho. The former Barcelona mentor is a man that prides himself on implementing an attacking brand of football. And when you’ve got a side that contains the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, and Douglas Costa, it would be sacrilege just to sit back and defend for the full 90 minutes.
This is not to say that Bayern won’t take a slightly more cautious approach to the game than they did in the first leg. I can see Guardiola instructing Vidal to sit a bit deeper than usual but I still think they will look to dominate the possession stakes rather than trying to sit on their 18-yard line and hit their opponents on the counter.
Verdict: Over 2.5 Goals 8/10
With Benfica needing a goal, I suspect we may well be in for an open affair which makes the over 2.5 goals market at 8/10 a rather attractive prospect
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