Best Odds: 11/4
The UEFA Champions League continues on through the month of August as fans get ready for the full competition to get underway with the big boys entering the conversation. Before that, however, we have the play-off round to get excited about, as a parade of clubs attempt to take a big step forward in their season – including Dynamo Kyiv and Benfica who will meet on Wednesday night.
Upon the termination of their league campaign, Dynamo Kyiv were in 2nd place and therefore qualified for the early stages of the UCL. They’ve got the kind of pedigree that should serve them well here but given everything that’s going back on in their homeland, it’ll be hard to focus on the task at hand, even though they’ll have a lot of motivation riding within them.
Benfica failed to live up to the expectations they set themselves last season as they finished third in the Primeira Liga, behind rivals Porto and Sporting Lisbon. At the same time, though, they’ve got a squad to their name that should convince anyone that they could make a run in this competition – provided they’re able to live up to their potential, which has been a sore spot for them in recent times.
Factors to Consider
The winner of this tie will progress to the group stage of the Champions League.
Dynamo Kyiv have won five and drawn one of their last six games.
Benfica have won five and lost one of their last six games.
Dynamo Kyiv have scored 11 goals and conceded five in their last six games.
Benfica have scored 14 goals and conceded three in their last six games.
It’s a tough situation for the hosts to be in given that, in terms of a ‘home’ game, they aren’t really able to take full advantage of that. They’ve got a lot of quality in their ranks but this is the toughest opposition they’re going to face yet, although we don’t think they’ll be overwhelmed defensively. We’re going to shoot for a 1-1 draw, putting the pressure on Benfica to perform back home in the second leg.
Best Odds: 11/4