Benfica v Borussia Dortmund: Out-of-form visitors too short

Kostas Mitroglou scored twice on Friday night...and was subbed before half-time.
Kostas Mitroglou scored twice on Friday night...and was subbed before half-time
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The great entertainers that are Borussia Dortmund head to Benfica's Estadio da Luz on Tuesday night and though they deserve respect, the price on the German side is just too short in light of their inconsistent recent form, says Jamie Pacheco.

'I’m not going to talk about the Estadio da Luz being a fortress because I’ll only do so when they actually build walls and a moat around it. But it’s not an easy place to play.'

Benfica v Borussia Dortmund
Tuesday, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 3

Benfica

Benfica are in the knockout stages courtesy of a runner-up spot in Group B, finishing three points behind Napoli and one ahead of Besiktas, with whom they drew twice.

For all the talk of what a wonderful Manager Jorge Jesus is (or Judas as he's often referred to in Portugal given how he defected to rivals Sporting Lisbon), Rui Vitoria has managed to do something that Jesus never did. Or any other Benfica manager for that matter. Opta remind us that this is the first time ever that Benfica have qualified to the knockout stages in successive seasons.

Their league form since their last Champions League match- a 2-1 home defeat to Napoli- has been rock solid. They've won seven of their last nine matches.

The last of those games was a 3-0 win at home to Arouca on Friday night, despite the 41st minute sending off of goalkeeper Ederson. Greek striker Kostas Mitroglou was the man sacrificed as former Inter Milan and QPR keeper Julio Cesar was subbed in but by then his work was done; he'd scored twice already. More on him later. It was also the best performance to date in a Benfica shirt of Peruvian winger Andre Carrillo, who scored his first goal since August.


Dortmund

Dortmund are no strangers to Lisbon this season. They played Sporting Lisbon in the group stages back in October, winning 2-1. But that was far from being their biggest achievement in the group stages.

Twice they held Real Madrid (2-2 both home and away), in the process finishing above them. They also put 14 goals past Legia Warsaw in two matches against them and as Opta tell us, are one of six sides to be unbeaten in the competition this season.

But their league form is a little questionable for a side with their reputation. Since their last Champions League match, they've won just twice in their last seven, drawing four and losing one. That was against SV Darmstadt at the weekend.


Match Odds

It's a little bit of a surprise to see Dortmund chalked up as 2.447/5 favourites here. Yes, they were extremely impressive in the Group Stages while Benfica benefited from a last-day defeat by Besiktas to book their places in the last 16.

But that was two months ago and since then Benfica have been in great form domestically and Dortmund haven't.

I'm not going to talk about the Estadio da Luz being a fortress because I'll only do so when they actually build walls and a moat around it. But it's not an easy place to play.

Besides, Dortmund's record in the knockout stages is pretty poor. They've lost six of their last eight matches in the knockout stages, according to Opta.

My idea of a scoreline here would be 1-1 but either way, Dortmund are worth taking on.


Over/Under 2.5 Goals

A punt on over 2.5 goals in Dortmund matches in the group stages would have paid out five times out of six and for Benfica in three of their matches.

So you'd think overs would be favourite here but common sense suggests that first legs of knockout games are a little cagier affairs and so it's pretty much evens the pair. That's a sensible price and we'll leave it alone.


To Score

If you're talking about a goalscorer in a match involving Dortmund then one name pops up before just about any other: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. But surprisingly, he scored just four of Dortmund's 21 group stages goals. This may well be his last season in a Dortmund shirt after he hinted he has his heart set on a bigger club. He won't come cheap, mind. His price to score in this match is a little short though. He's around the 2.26/5 mark.

You'd think Benfica will score at least once. Firstly because Dortmund have conceded in 11 of their last 12 matches and secondly because Benfica have scored in 29 of their 30 matches this season.

And it may pay to look at the aforementioned Mitroglou. He has six goals from his last seven matches and is arguably the focal point of Benfica's attack rather than fellow striker Jonas these days. You should be able to get odds of around 3.02/1 on the big man.

Recommended Bets

1.5pts Lay Dortmund @ 2.447/5
0.5pts Back Kostas Mitroglou to score @ 3.02/1

Jamie's P/L 2016/17

Staked: 44pts
Returned: 45.89pts
P/L: +1.89pts

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