Venue: Vodafone Arena 41902 capacity
Weather: 11 degrees cloudy
Kick off: 18:45 CET
Damir Skomina (SVN)
Jure Praprotnik (SVN)
Robert Vukan (SVN)
Did you know that Besiktas didn’t lose one single match this season? In all 15 matches, they haven’t lost once. 9 victories and 6 draws. That is a fact that is pretty astonishing. They have won 6 out of 8 last games. This will probably be most important game of the whole season for them and if they lose this excellent streak will be worthless. This is a historical chance for the Turkish club to qualify for the next phase of the Champions League, and all they have to do is beat Benfica. It is easy to say but it’s really hard to do. Black and white are playing very well, they won the last match in Turkish championship against Adanaspor in an away match 1:2 and the confidence is pretty high. They are playing at their ground, they have one of the loudest fans in Europe and they will do everything in their power to get three points out of this game. All home team players are healthy and fit for this match. Cenk Tosun and Aboubakar are facing a huge challenge for them as they have to breakthrough Benfica’s organized defense. Portuguese team has only conceded one goal in the last seven matches. Also, home team defense will have to give their best in order to stop excellent attackers from the opponent’s team. Goalkeeper Fabrizio is one of the best goalkeepers in this year Champions League competition, and this is his chance to become one of most respective players in Europe, as he deserves. This guy has a lot of potential but he is underrated a lot. If you look at the previous games in group stage you will see what am I talking about.
One of the most experienced players Ricardo Quaresma is facing, his old opponent and nobody knows Benfica better than him. Besiktas needs to stop Benfica’s midfield players from getting the ball into their own possession because that is the way how Benfica controls the game. The home team will have to watch out for counter-attacks and from Kostas Mitroglou and his movement up front. He constantly creates space for midfield players to run into. Besiktas will have to gain control of the ball and try to impose his own tempo and the pace of the game.
Possible lineups:Fabri; Gönül, Marcelo, Tosic, Beck; Arslan, Hutchinson; Quaresma, Özyakup, Adriano; Aboubakar
Manager: Senol Günes
Players out: Out:
André Horta (thigh)
Benfica is red hot. Since they have lost the game against Napoli in Naples they have seven wins and only one draw scoring 22 goals and conceding only two. Their performance is excellent and every part of the team is playing fantastic. But it is the same thing with their opponents, with only one difference Benfica is not going to have that support like home team will. Besiktas managed to shock home fans in Lisbon, and now it is time for payback. Many of the Portuguese fans are hoping to get even with the Turks. In the last round of Portuguese championship, Benfica smashed Maritimo with 6:0. Kostas Mitroglou scored two goals and he warned Besiktas defense that he is in good form before this match. Greek striker is getting much help from his teammates who are playing behind him Guedes, Pizzi, and Salvio, as they are constantly creating him dangerous chances and also creating themselves good positions to score.
There hasn’t been a lot of talk about Benfica’s defense and that is because they are doing their job perfectly. If nobody is mentioning the defending players, that means, they haven’t made any mistakes and that is exactly what the defensive line in Portuguese team has been accomplishing in last several games. Veteran Luisao and youngster Lindelof are getting along very well. Now they will face a huge pressure and constant danger from Besiktas strikers, who are also in great shape. Benfica needs to control the game with their well-known style or getting the ball into their own possession and with many short passes try to find the gap and score.
Possible lineups: Ederson; Eliseu, Lindelöf, Luisão, Nélson Semedo; Samaris, Pizzi, Cervi, Salvio; Gonçalo Guedes, Mitroglou
Manager: Rui Vitória
This is truly a great Championship League match. We expect a lot of excitement and a lot of goals, huge amount of passion and many, many bookings in this match. Home team fans are among the best in Europe, so we might expect a spectacle before the match. During the game, we will see a lot of chances on both sides and hopefully we will see a lot of goals because Besiktas has to play for the win and we all know when Benfica is defending there is a constant threat from their counter attacks. If you want to win some money, you should play on goals because we can’t predict who is going to win this match. Chances are even, so be smart and play over 2,5 goals in this match.