Dynamo Kiev and Benfica square off at the Wladyslaw Krol Municipal Stadium in the first leg of their Champions League qualifying playoff round clash on Wednesday.
Both sides have enjoyed a fine qualifying campaign and will look to continue in the same vein as they are just 180 minutes away from a place in the group stages of the European tournament.
Dynamo Kiev marched on in their quest for a return to Europe’s premier club competition as they saw off the threat of a resilient Sturm Graz side courtesy of a 3-1 aggregate victory.
Having claimed a 1-0 first-leg victory at the Wladyslaw Krol Municipal Stadium on August 3, the Bilo-syni travelled to Austria six days later where they came from behind to claim a 2-1 extra-time victory over the Bundesliga outfit.
Rasmus Winther Hojlund struck in the 27th minute to level matters and force extra time as Sturm Graz looked to mount a memorable comeback but extra-time goals from Kostiantyn Vivcharenko and Viktor Tsygankov dashed the hearts of the home fans as the Ukrainians picked up a 3-1 aggregate victory.
Dynamo Kiev have now enjoyed an unbeaten campaign in the Champions League qualifiers, claiming one draw and three wins while scoring five goals and shipping two from their four outings.
Their next assignment is the challenge of taking on a rampant Benfica side who are unbeaten in each of their previous four encounters, claiming three wins and one draw since 2016.
Roger Schmidt’s men made it two wins from their opening two games of the 2022-23 Primeira Liga campaign last time out when they narrowly edged out Casa Pia 1-0 at the Municipal Stadium of Leiria.
In a game where Nicolas Otamendi received a late red card, Portuguese forward Goncalo Ramos continued his red-hot form in front of goal as his 58th-minute strike was enough to separate the sides at the final whistle.
Prior to that, Benfica picked up a 3-1 victory over Midtjylland in the second leg of their Champions League third qualifying round clash on August 9 to complete an emphatic 7-2 aggregate win over the Danish outfit.
The 2018-19 Portuguese champions head into Wednesday’s game on a blistering run of 10 consecutive victories across all competitions, dating back to a 1-0 loss against Porto when the sides met back in May.
As Aguias are also unbeaten in their last seven away games, holding out for a 3-3 draw with Liverpool in the second leg of last season’s Champions League quarter-finals on April 13 before claiming six wins from their subsequent six outings.
Dynamo Kiev Champions League form:
Dynamo Kiev form (all competitions):
Benfica Champions League form:
Benfica form (all competitions):
We say: Dynamo Kiev 1-2 Benfica
With just 180 minutes separating Dynamo Kiev and Benfica from a place in the Champions League group stages, we expect a thrilling contest, with both sides taking the game to each other in search of a vital first-leg win. The Portuguese side head into the tie firing on all cylinders and we are backing them to maintain their fine run and see off the home side.