Galatasaray vs Benfica Europa League Predictions

Europa League Galatasaray vs Benfica
Galatasaray vs Benfica Europa League

The match is over.
Score: 1-2.

Second place in Turkey hosts second place in Portugal as Galatasaray and Benfica meet for a heavyweight Europa League encounter.

Predictions

Galatasaray and Benfica might not lift European trophies on a regular basis, but they are two genuine powerhouses in their respective leagues and among the more evocative names boasted by European football.

Either could go on to win the Europa League this season, even if they would be considered more dark horses than favourites thanks to the presence of the Chelseas and Sevillas of the tournament.

Both sides bowed out of the Champions League in December after finishing third, and in truth they both made a mess of their first bite at European competition this season.

Will they repeat their mistake? Well, someone has to lose across the two legs and the form book is in Gala’s favour, as Fatih Terim’s side haven’t lost since their last European match, 3-2 at home to Benfica’s domestic rivals Porto.

But it’s not as if Benfica are struggling to pick up wins – they hammered Nacional 10-0 on Sunday, scoring in the first and 90th minutes, and at regular intervals in between.

These are two evenly-matched teams, though, who had comparable records in the Champions League and have had similar seasons domestically. Home advantage might just tip the tie in Galatasaray’s favour – 2-1.

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Betting Tips

Gala and Benfica have scored almost 100 league goals between them this season so both teams will feel confident of finding the back of the net. Top bookmakers will keep that in mind but adding in a Gala victory improves the odds somewhat and Royal Panda have the home win and BTTS at 15/4.

Henry Onyekuru is a name that might register with avid Premier League followers, as the Nigerian is technically an Everton player, sent to Galatasaray until he can get a work permit to play in England. Gala will hate to see that day come, though, as he’s already plundered nine goals and is 5/2 at 10Bet to score anytime here.

Statistics

Head to Head

These two last met in competitive action in the 2015-16 Champions League group stage, as they shared 2-1 home wins.

Before that they were paired in the 2008-09 UEFA Cup, with Gala winning 2-0 in Portugal. There was no return meeting that season, as the tournament was in one of its phases of group opponents not playing each other home and away.

Stats

  • Gala striker Kostas Mitroglu spent two prolific seasons with Benfica – the first, in 2015-16, was on loan from Fulham, before making the move permanent. He scored 52 goals in 86 games before switching to Marseille and heading to Turkey in January.
  • Gala and Benfica are so strong domestically that they’ve claimed a combined 57 titles, the former lifting the Super Lig 21 times and the latter topping the Primeira Liga on 36 occasions.
  • Veteran coach Terim is in his fourth spell on the Gala bench, having first taken charge in 1996. He returned in 2002, 2011 and 2017, managing the Fiorentina, Milan and the
  • Turkey national team in the intervening periods.
  • Terim’s opposition in the dugout is at the other end of the experience spectrum, as Bruno Lange was only appointed caretaker in January. He has though seen his side score 30 goals in his nine games in charge, winning eight and losing one.
By:Sam Watt

Football manager is my life, but have taken up writing to help put all that knowledge playing the game to good use. Follow me for all things European football and gain unexpected knowledge about players and teams you didn't know before. When not playing football manager, I take a break to play with my Sunday League team.

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