Benfica travel to Russia next week with their Champions League future on the line. Benfica expert Marco Lopes argues that unless they beat Zenit and secure 2nd place in Group C and direct qualification to the knockout stages, it would be preferable for the Eagles to get knocked out of Europe altogether.
Prior to this season, the last time Benfica crossed swords with Russian side Zenit St Petersburg Jorge Jesus was guiding one of the best configured sides in the club’s recent history. The team of 2011/12 remains the only one to progress past the Group Stage under JJ’s reign. Many of the key actors have left since – Axel Witsel, Javi Garcia, Bruno Cesar, Nolito, Pablo Aimar… and the infamous Emerson, of course.