Despite Dortmund’s best efforts Bayern look unstoppable in the Bundesliga while Benfica are beginning to look similarly imperious in Portugal after 14 wins in their last 15 league games. Benfica are the first Portuguese side to reach this stage since they achieved it themselves in 2012 but they will have to do something incredible if they are to become the first to make the semis since Porto went all the way in 2004.
Benfica have already won in Madrid, against Atletico, and at Zenit this season so they will surely believe they can make life hard for Bayern. They’ve also won two of their last three trips to Germany. However, those were not against Bayern and the last two Portuguese teams to visit the Allianz Arena have been sent packing 6-1 and 7-1.
Bayern survived a major scare against Juventus in the last round and Guardiola will undoubtedly want to avoid any repeat here. Since the start of last season his side has won nine of their 10 home games in Europe’s premier competition and that includes seven Win/Win doubles, six wins to nil and six by at least three clear goals. Guardiola’s first-leg record in the Champions League is surprisingly poor, with just six wins and as many defeats from 20 matches but he’s only had four of those matches at home and three were won by four goal margins.
Arjen Robben looks set to miss out once again but Franck Ribery completed just his fourth 90 minutes of the season at the weekend and netted his first goal of 2016 in the process. With Kingsley Coman also fit again they have options to make up for the Dutchman’s absence and the German’s superior quality should make the difference. Since 2000 there have been 29 UCL knockout matches where a team we had ranked 11-20th in Europe has travelled to a top-three side and 22 have ended in home wins with 17 coming by more than one goal. However, just five of these matches were first legs and it’s worth noting that three of these finished all-square and given how short Bayern’s price is it looks hard to find too much value on them.
The Portuguese side’s best hope for the tie is surely to find an away goal and they’ve scored in 19 of their last 20 away matches. With their good away record this season they may well achieve that but stopping Bayern is another matter and the last seven Champions League matches here have all had at least four goals as have Bayern’s last six home knockout games. They kept just one clean sheet in those six knockout matches and both teams to score can be backed at 2.6 but we just prefer the Over 3.5 Goals option.
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