On a run of 11 consecutive wins across all competitions, Benfica play host to Dynamo Kiev in the second leg of their Champions League qualifying playoff round clash on Tuesday.
The Ukrainian outfit visit the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica seeking to overturn a two-goal deficit and mount a memorable comeback following last week’s first-leg defeat.
Benfica are now 90 minutes away from the Champions League group stages as they eased to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev in the first leg of their qualifying playoff-round clash last Wednesday.
In a thrilling contest at the Wladyslaw Krol Municipal Stadium, Gilberto handed the Portuguese side the perfect start as he opened the scoring inside the opening nine minutes before Goncalo Ramos rounded up the scoring with a 37th-minute strike.
Prior to that, As Aguias made it two wins from their opening two games of the new Primeira Liga campaign as they saw off newly-promoted Casa Pia 1-0 courtesy of Ramos’s second-half effort.
Benfica now return to the Champions League qualifiers where they will be looking to wrap up their campaign with a 100% record, having won their three games so far while scoring nine goals and conceding twice.
Roger Schmidt’s side head into the midweek contest on an 11-game winning streak across all competitions, stretching back to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Porto when the sides squared off in Primeira Liga back in May.
On the other hand, having picked up three wins and one draw from their opening four games, last week’s first-leg defeat saw Dynamo Kiev’s unbeaten run in the qualifiers come to an end.
Prior to that, Mircea Lucescu‘s men kicked off their hunt for a place in the group stages of Europe’s biggest club competition with a 2-1 aggregate victory over Fenerbahce back in July.
This was followed by a 1-0 home victory over Sturm Graz in the first leg of their third qualifying round clash on August 3 before visiting the Merkur Arena six days later to beat the Austrian outfit 2-1 and secure a 3-1 aggregate victory.
While the Ukrainian outfit will be looking to mount a memorable comeback and cause an upset, they have managed just two wins from their last five away games across all competitions, scoring five goals and shipping 10 in that time.
They will also be desperate to end their winless run against Benfica as they head into Tuesday on a run of four defeats and one draw in their most recent five meetings with the Portuguese outfit since October 2016.
Barring any late fitness issues, Benfica head into Monday with no fresh injury concerns as the Brazilian duo of Lucas Verissimo and Joao Victor continue their spells on the sidelines.
Verissimo has been out of action since last November through a knee injury, while the former Corinthians defender is yet to make his debut after picking up a muscle problem back in July.
Schmidt watched his side cruise to a comfortable first-leg victory against the Ukrainian outfit last week and we expect the German tactician to name a similar starting XI on Monday.
Ramos has been involved in seven goals in the opening five games of the season and the Portuguese forward should spearhead the attack once again, teaming up with Rafa Silva and former Inter Milan man Joao Mario.
While Nicolas Otamendi picked up a straight red card in As Aguias’ most recent Primeira Liga outing, he should form a centre-back pairing with Felipe Morato for the ninth consecutive game, while Enzo Fernandez and Florentino Luis should retain their roles in midfield.
Meanwhile, Dynamo Kyiv will be without 29-year-old defender Volodymyr Kostevych, who has been out of action since last December through a long-term injury.
He is joined on the club’s injury table by forward Vladyslav Supryaga, who has been out of action since sustaining a hip injury in July’s 2-1 friendly defeat against Royal Antwerp.
The visitors will be boosted by the return of Denys Garmash and Sergiy Sydorchuk, after the duo missed the first leg through suspension after crossing the yellow card threshold with their bookings against Sturm Graz on August 9.
Benfica possible starting lineup:
Vlachodimos; Gilberto, Otamendi, FMorato, Grimaldo; Luis, Fernandez; Mario, Silva, Neres; Ramos
Dynamo Kiev possible starting lineup:
Bushchan; Kedziora, Zabarnyi, Syrota, Dubinchak; Shaparenko, Andriyevskiy, Shepeliev; Buyalskyi, Tsygankov, Besedin