Group F winners Dortmund will look to shrug off some indifferent domestic form when they travel to Portugal to take on local champions and league leaders SL Benfica at the Estadio da Luz on Tuesday night.
BVB’s title hopes are as good as over following a shock loss to bottom of the table Darmstadt over the weekend. That leaves them 15 points adrift of league leaders Bayern Munich, and with only 14 games to play, that seems too large a margin to be made up.
For all their inconsistency domestically, Dortmund have had a very good Champions League campaign this season, and topped Group F ahead of defending champions Real Madrid. They scored the most goals out of all the 32 teams participating in the group stages, with the highlight being their 8:4 win over Legia Warsaw at home.
Against bottom of the table Darmstadt, Tuchel had the likes of Dembele, Schurrle, Castro and Kagawa on the bench with one eye on the Benfica game, but it backfired as the visitors lost 2:1. Skipper Marcel Schmelzer and Lukasz Piszczek also missed the Darmstadt game but have travelled with the side and are expected to be fit for the clash in Lisbon. However one major absentee will be Mario Gotze, with an adductor injury preventing the playmaker from boarding the plane to Portugal.
Benfica won 2, drew 2 and lost 2 in their group but did enough to qualify behind Napoli. They scored 10 goals but also let in 10, and their goal difference of 0 is the lowest among all sixteen teams that qualified for the knockout stages.
The Lions go into this game on the back of successive 3:0 wins at home against Nacional and Arouca respectively. The Estadio da Luz can be intimidating for the opposition, with over 50,000 expected to crowd the stadium on Valentine’s Day to cheer their side on.
Benfica and Dortmund met in the erstwhile European Cup back in 1963/64, with Dortmund winning 5-0 in the first leg at home and losing 2-1 away to progress 6-2 on aggregate. Benfica are winless in their last four games against German opposition. With the Bundesliga out of question, Dortmund’s only chances of silverware are in the CL and the Pokal, and one would expect Thomas Tuchel’s side to lift their game on Tuesday night. Dortmund are poor travellers domestically however- they’ve won only 3 out of 11 on the road in the Bundesliga this season.
Odds: BVB are at 7/5 at the time of writing while SLB are at 11/5. We used the football tips and predictions at footballbets.tips last time around and recommend you to check them out if you’re betting on this fixture.
Dortmund-Hertha Berlin 1:1
Dortmund-RB Leipzig 1:0
Werder Bremen-Dortmund 1:2
Video highlights from BVB’s 5-0 win against Dortmund in 1963/64 EC