This matchup has the most implications of any on the final matchday - the winner of the match takes the group. Should Besiktas manage to lose against Dynamo Kyiv (who have yet to win in the UCL group stage this year) both Benfica and Napoli will go through. The likeliest scenario, however, is that the winner of this match goes through along with Besiktas. That situation puts a lot of pressure on each team to win and guarantee progress. In the first matchup between these sides in Naples, the home side went up 4-0 before conceding two to Benfica after the 70th minute. While Benfica have lead the league in Portugal for most of the campaign so far, their only wins in the UCL have been against winless Dynamo Kyiv. Settling for a draw last time out against Besiktas after gaining a 3-0 lead was a major let-down - a win would have guaranteed progress and they’re now at risk of heading to the Europa League. Stopping Marek Hamsik and wrangling Dries Mertens will be the top priority as the latter nabbed a brace in the original matchup.
Benfica won their second straight Primeira Liga title last season, with a +66 goal difference along the way. Meanwhile in the Champions League, they had a notable win against eventual runners-up Atletico Madrid and managed a draw against Bayern in the quarter-finals, eventually losing 2-3 on aggregate. In the offseason, as Europe’s biggest clubs did their annual summer prowl of Portugal, Argentine winger Nicolas Gaitan and the Euros’ Young Player of the Tournament Renato Sanches departed. Without major reinforcements (other than some of the best looking kits in the world this season), they’ll rely on Jonas, who has scored 52 goals in 61 appearances for Benfica.
Gonazlo Higuain may have left, but with Juve agreeing to the highest fee ever between two Italian clubs, Napoli have wasted no time in reinvesting. Most prominently, Arkadiusz Milik arrives from Ajax, where he scored 21 league goals. Add him to the versatile Marek Hamsik and 24 year old Italy up-and-comer Manolo Gabbiadini and Napoli have the potential to put in another Serie A title push alongside a Champions League campaign. With a forgiving group, they should expect to make the knockout rounds at a minimum.
Averages nearly a goal a game for Benfica, but has only appeared 12 times for Brazil.
Has been selected for three straight Brazilian World Cup squads.