One of the best match ups in the Champions League this week will be the meeting of Benfica and Zenit St Petersburg. Zenit were terrific earlier in the season and lit up the Champions League group stages with some exciting football and impressive displays. The winter break in Russia has definitely had an effect on Zenit and they were a little off the pace when they faced Benfica in Portugal, sharpness wasnt quite there and they paid the price for missed chances losing the first leg 1-0. Hulk , Witsel , Dzyuba, Javi Garcia will be the key men for Zenit going forward, Andre Villa Boas will look to get his team off to a fast start here and I think the weather will definitely have an effect here, a high of 1 and expected lots of freezing showers this game could be a really interesting game to watch.
Benfica will have taken a confidence boosting win over rivals Sporting on Saturday night, a 1-0 victory that see's them top of the league by 2 points. Benica will look to top scorer Jonas to keep the Zenit back line busy, Jonas has scored twenty six in twenty five games, he is being assisted right now by an inform Mitroglu who scored the winner against Sporting at the weekend. Benfica were heavily fancied to get through this round but after the first leg I think most bookmakers have made Zenit favourites to go through.
This is such a good match up, both teams are pretty evenly balanced but given that Zenit are at home and used to the playing conditions I have to take the Russian side here to get the win. I think this one will be tight though and I am not sure that Zenit do enough to get through the tie. If Benfica can get a goal then Zenit will have to win by two to make it through. This one could be a rollercoster but I am taking Zenit to win the game.