Preview: Benfica v Dortmund

Liga NOS leaders Benfica will host a Dortmund struggling for confidence in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.

UEFA Champions League Last-16
Date: 14 February 2017
Kick-off: 21H45 (GMT+2)
Venue: Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli
Assistants: Elenito Di Liberatore, Riccardo Di Fiore
Fourth official: Mauro Tonolini

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS

Benfica 2 1 0 1
Dortmund 2 1 0 1

Previous encounter:
Dortmund 5-0 Benfica 04/12/63 (European Champions Clubs’ Cup)
Dortmund goalscorers: Timo Konietzka (33′), Franz Brungs (35′, 37′, 47′), Reinhold Wosab (58′)

Players to watch:

Benfica’s stand-out performer on the European stage this season has been Toto Salvio. The right winger has scored three Champions League goals while also assisting in three. Another player to look out for is Konstantinos Mitroglou, who has netted 18 goals across all competitions this season, adding a further three assists.

Dortmund have been led through the Champions League gauntlet by star striker Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang who has netted four goals in five games, while providing one assist. Meanwhile, left winger Marco Reus is also a big player for the visitors in the final third, and has collected three goals and three assists in two Champions League games.

Team form and manager quotes:

The hosts come into the first-leg clash on the back of two dominant victories in the Portuguese top-flight (Liga NOS). They beat Nacional 3-0 at home, before another 3-0 victory over Arouca. Benfica, who lead Liga NOS, have however lost two of their last four games in all competitions.

Former Benfica player Antonio Simoes spoke about the upcoming fixture with optimism, telling Sapo Desporto, “I feel that Benfica have the chance to negotiate this tie, not only with dignity, but also with quality, because they have the capacity to eliminate this Borussia Dortmund.”

Meanwhile, the visitors have struggled for form in recent games, and were shocked 2-1 by bottom-of-the-standings Darmstadt in the Bundesliga on Saturday, which may have knocked their confidence. Dortmund have won only three of their last nine games, drawing five.

Following the surprise result against Darmstadt, manager Thomas Tuchel told the press, “It was a confirmation of what we have been showing this season.

“Darmstadt were much closer to 100 percent than we were, they deserved the win.

“We were well below our potential, the fact we showed so little of ourselves out on the pitch is bitter enough.”

Team news:

Benfica will be eager to see Toto Salvio return to action after he sprained an ankle on February 6, but he remains a doubt for the tie, while Alejandro Grimaldo and Lisandro Lopez remain sidelined.

Dortmund picked up a few new injuries over the past week, with Nuri Sahin, Mario Gotze, Lukasz Piszczek and Marcel Schmelzer all on the sidelines. Sven Bender and Sebastian Rode also remain unavailable due to injury.

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