Tuesday’s Champions League Predictions: Benfica can confirm their superiority

Greg Lea

6 March 2023

The Champions League Round of 16 reverse fixtures grace our screens this week, and there are crunch clashes scheduled in Lisbon and London on Tuesday. Greg Lea previews the action.

Benfica v Club Brugge

Kick-off: 8pm Tuesday

Benfica were one of the strongest sides in the group stage of the Champions League. Despite being drawn in a tough section alongside Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Maccabi Haifa, the Portuguese giants advanced in first place after collecting 14 points from a possible 18.

They are now on the brink of the quarter-finals after a 2-0 victory over Club Brugge in the first leg last month. Goals from Joao Mario and David Neres made the difference in Belgium, as Benfica brushed Scott Parker’s team aside in front of their own fans. 

Tuesday’s contest could be similarly one-sided. Roger Schmidt’s side has been superb since the turn of the year, with eight wins from their nine Primeira Liga games in 2023, including seven on the bounce. They will almost certainly be crowned Portuguese champions in a few months’ time.

Club Brugge upset the odds in qualifying for the knockout phase of the Champions League, but they have been poor since then. The Belgian outfit have won just two of their last 14 games in all competitions, and they will struggle to find the back of the net against opponents that have won 10 of their last 13 outings without conceding. 

Schmidt has got Benfica’s defence well drilled. They have kept a total of 22 clean sheets across the league, cup and Champions League, and they restricted Club Brugge to just one shot on target in the reverse fixture at the Jan Breydel Stadium. Back a comfortable Benfica win in this one. 

Prediction: Benfica to win to nil @ 2.3

Chelsea v Borussia Dortmund 

Kick-off: 8pm Tuesday

Chelsea eased the pressure on their under-fire manager Graham Potter with a 1-0 defeat of Leeds United on Saturday. Wesley Fofana scored the only goal of the game early in the second half, giving the Blues their first win in seven matches in all competitions.

Despite that triumph and Tottenham Hotspur's loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers, Chelsea are still a significant distance behind the top four. A deficit of 11 points will surely be too large to overturn with only 14 Premier League fixtures left to fulfill. That means Chelsea’s best chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League is by winning this year’s edition, though that looks unlikely.

Potter’s team trail Borussia Dortmund 1-0 heading into the second leg at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea actually played pretty well at Signal Iduna Park and would have avoided defeat had they been more clinical in and around the penalty area.

This tie is still in the balance, but Dortmund will be confident of progressing from here after winning 10 games in a row after the winter break. There is no need for them to open up and create an end-to-end encounter on Tuesday, with Edin Terzic likely to instruct his players to be defensively disciplined and diligent against a Chelsea side that has struggled to find the net under Potter.

The Blues’ backline has at least been reasonably solid in recent fixtures, and it is notable that each of their last eight games have featured under 2.5 goals. That looks like the way to go for Tuesday’s duel with Dortmund.

Prediction: Under 2.5 goals @ 2

Tuesday’s Champions League Predictions 

Benfica v Club Brugge: Benfica to win to nil @ 2.3
Chelsea v Borussia Dortmund: Under 2.5 goals @ 2

Greg Lea

6 March 2023

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