Bayern Munich will be looking to get off to a positive start in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie when they welcome in-form Benfica to the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.
The Bavarian giants have reached the semi-finals of the prestigious competition the last four consecutive years, and Manchester City bound Pep Guardiola will be hoping his side can make it five in his last season with the club, as well as winning it – something the Spaniard is yet to do during his time in Germany.
The Bundesliga leaders needed extra time to beat Juventus 6-4 on aggregate in the round of 16 last month, having found themselves 2-0 down at home in the second leg, and know they will have to improve on that performance if they are to repeat when they lifted the trophy in 2013.
Guardiola’s team certainly face tough opposition in Benfica though – the Portuguese outfit are top of their domestic division and have won their last eight matches in all competitions, including both legs of their round of 16 tie against Zenit St Petersburg, and 19 out of their last 20 outings.
The latest of those victories was a 5-1 thrashing of fourth-placed FC Braga in the Primeira Liga on Friday, in which on-loan Fulham striker Kostas Mitroglou scored twice.
Rui Vitoria’s side have reached this stage of the Champions League for the first time since 2012, when they were beaten 3-1 on aggregate by Chelsea, and have a contender for the European Golden Boot in 32-year-old striker Jonas, who has netted 32 goals in 36 games in all competitions this season.
A tight encounter could be expected though, with the two teams conceding just 32 goals in 56 league matches between them so far this campaign.
Guardiola will be without winger Arjen Robben, who is suffering from a groin injury, but Kingsley Coman, who scored one of the extra time goals against parent club Juventus in the previous round, should be fit following a leg problem.
The visitors come into the clash with Julio Cesar (thigh) and Luisao (broken arm), and will be wary that top goalscorer Jonas will miss the second leg at the Stadium of Light if he picks up a booking in Germany.
League Position: Bayern Munich – 1st (Bundesliga – 72 pts); Benfica – 1st (Primeira Liga – 70 pts)
Previous Meeting: Benfica 1-3 Bayern Munich (UEFA Cup – December 5, 1995)
Form: Bayern Munich – LDWWWW; Benfica – WWWWWW
Key Men: Bayern Munich – Thomas Muller; Benfica – Jonas
Shoot Says: Bayern Munich 2-1 Benfica