In their last group match, Benfica scored a first-half penalty and denied Dynamo Kyiv from scoring a late one of their own to win 1-0. They lead the group, but are only one point ahead of Besiktas and Napoli. A win would guarantee they make it to the Round of 16. Meanwhile, Besiktas drew 1-1 with Napoli in their last match and could advance if they win and Napoli do not. The first matchup between these two sides ended 1-1 and on top that they’re both in first in their domestic leagues. With all that said, we look set for a tight, influential fixture. Cenk Tosun and Ricardo Quaresma will lead the attack for Besiktas, who haven’t lost at home in the Champions League in four consecutive matches.
After six straight seasons outside the Champions League, the Black Eagles are back after qualifying directly to the group stage by winning the Turkish Super Lig. They’ll begin the campaign without Mario Gomez, who scored 26 goals in the league last year before deciding to leave for Wolfsburg in the offseason after the failed Turkish coup. They boast a wealth of young Turkish talent, however, in attacking midfielder Oğuzhan Özyakup and forward Cenk Tosun. Veteran winger Ricardo Quaresma will provide experienced leadership after winning Euro 2016 with Portugal this summer.
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.
An attacking mid and Arsenal academy product, Özyakup has appeared over 110 times for Beşiktaş at just 23.
The tricky winger has appeared over 50 times for Portugal, winning Euro 2016 this summer.