Benfica vs Zenit by Jimeno
Benfica comes from quite an ugly loss in the domestic league last weekend, since the team suffered 1:2 defeat in front of own fans against one of their biggest rivals and title candidtes from Porto. However, they were the first to take the lead in eighteenth minute with a goal from Mitroglou, but later switched to just a bit more defensive approach and paid the price of it, thanks to goals from Herrera in 28th and Aboubakar in 65th.
Overall, it was a balanced game and probably the players of Benfica deserved a bit more out of the match. After this defeat, they slipped now down to second position, having three points less than leaders from Sporting and three points more than third placed Porto. As for Champions League, the team now has a nice chance to improve their European experience and bring some more joy to their fans after finishing second in group phase after Atletico Madrid. Portuguese side should be playing in their usual 4-4-2 formation with Mitroglou and Jonas. Central defender Luisao (9/0) and defender Pedro Rebocho are injured and out, while doubtful for this match remain defensive midfielder Ljubomir Fejsa (11/0) and central defender Lisandro Lopez (14/0).
Zenit, on the other side, already established themselves as a force in Europe, however the team lacks real results in Champions League knock-out stage and they'll try to improve that this year. However, one of the main obstacles for them will be the fact that they didn't play competitive matches since early December and their form might be questionable, especially in first few weeks from now on.
The team currently stands only at sixth position in Russian Premier League, but with seven points difference to first placed CSKA, so no doubt that they will be chasing as high as possible position for the end of the season. During the preparation period, they had some decent victories including 2:0 victory over Brondby, 3:2 against Norrkoping and 1:1 draw against Orebro and a victory from penalty kicks. Russians will be playing in 4-2-3-1 formation with Dzuyba as number nine and Hulk, Danny and Shatov as his offensive support. Guests won't be able to count at central midfielder Viktor Faizulin (5/0), goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev and offensive midfielder Aleksandr Ryazantsev (11/0) as they are all sidelined with injuries. Ezequiel Garay is set to start here against his former club.
Goals aren't granted in this one, but I believe taking this bet has plenty of value. They both have great power in attack and not that reliable defensive lineup. Visitors are surely not coming to defend here and have the quality to threaten out of nowhere, while Benfica remains just a slight favorite anyway.