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Gianni VerschuerenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2017

The UEFA Champions League returns on Tuesday, as Borussia Dortmund visit Benfica in the first leg of their round-of-16 clash.

BVB finished ahead of La Liga giants Real Madrid during the group stages, but the Germans have struggled for form of late. Benfica sit atop the Portuguese league and tend to make life hard on top clubs, so Tuesday’s fixture should be a good one.

Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming match.

 

Date: Tuesday, February 14

Time: 7:45 p.m. GMT

Venue: Estadio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal

TV Info: BT Sport 3 (UK), Fox Sports (U.S.)

Live Stream: BT Sport app, Fox Soccer 2Go

 

Team News

Mario Gotze, Marcel Schmelzer and Lukasz Piszczek all missed the 2-1 Bundesliga loss to Darmstadt on Saturday, and there was a scare when at first it seemed star youngster Ousmane Dembele also didn’t travel.

As shared by Bundesliga writer Lars Pollmann, manager Thomas Tuchel later clarified things:


All apart from Dembele remain doubts, while the likes of Nuri Sahin and Sebastian Rode have been out with long-term injuries, per Transfermarkt.co.uk.

For Benfica, Lisandro Lopez remains sidelined, while Alex Grimaldo wasn’t registered for the Champions League. Andrija Zivkovic is suspended.

Possible Benfica XI: Ederson Moraes, Eliseu, Victor Lindelof, Luisao, Nelson Semedo, Andre Carrillo, Pizzi, Ljubomir Fejsa, Franco Cervi, Kostas Mitroglou, Jonas

Possible BVB XI: Roman Burki, Matthias Ginter, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Dzenis Burnic, Christian Pulisic, Julian Weigl, Raphael Guerreiro, Erik Durm, Ousmane Dembele, Marco Reus, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

 

Preview

All is not well with Dortmund, who have won just one of their last three Bundesliga matches and are coming off an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Darmstadt―still ranked last in the Bundesliga and winless in the league in 2017 until that match.

While Die Schwarzgelben are not yet in crisis mode, Pollmann believes the future of Tuchel isn’t clear at this point:


Some positivity is sorely needed, and a big win in the Champions League would do the trick. BVB haven’t been particularly consistent this season, but at their best, they remain an entertaining squad that is capable of beating Benfica.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains the main goal threat, but Dembele has been the breakout performer of the year so far, and the squad has quickly grown reliant on his flashes of brilliance.

Per WhoScored.com, his ability to create is remarkable:


He and his team-mates face a stiff test against a disciplined Benfica defence that features top talent expected to move to bigger clubs during the summer. Victor Lindelof was linked with Manchester United throughout January, per The Sun‘s Tom Sheen, and Nelson Semedo is also regarded as a future star.

Up front, Jonas and Kostas Mitroglou are a proven duo with bags of experience at European level. The former hasn’t been as productive as he was last season, but the two still play well off each other and are always a threat.

LISBON, PORTUGAL - FEBRUARY 10: Benfica's forward Andre Carrillo from Paraguay during the match between SL Benfica and FC Arouca for the Portuguese Primeira Liga at Estadio da Luz on February 10, 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty

Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Benfica’s form hasn’t been spectacular, but at home against a struggling BVB outfit, the Portuguese side should find some success.

Prediction: Benfica 1-1 Borussia Dortmund



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