Inter Milan face Portuguese opponents for the second round running. They managed to just squeeze past Porto 1-0 on aggregate in the last 16 and now they face Primeira Liga leaders Benfica. Roger Schmidt’s men easily saw off Club Brugge, but this will be a more formidable challenge. Both sides are in a favourable section of the draw and would avoid the likes of Man City, Bayern, or Real Madrid until the final.
Taking their domestic form into consideration, this stats pack runs down their stats from the Liga Portugal and the Serie A respectively. That should give you the best insight into the top goal-scorers, shot-takers, pass-masters, foul-committers, and card-receivers of both sides. With the assistance of my Stats Pack Guide, you can compile stat-backed bet builder winners.
Benfica will be without striker Goncalo Guedes and the midfield duo of Julian Draxler and Mihailo Ristic. Key centre back Nicolas Otamendi is suspended for the first leg and should be replaced by either Morato or Lucas Verissimo.
The Portuguese outfit might be forced into another change at right back where Alexander Bah limped off vs Porto at the weekend. Gilberto is in line to start in that position.
Inter have injury problems to centre back Milan Skriniar and midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu. They should lineup in their usual 3-5-2 formation with Lautaro Martinez upfront alongside either Lukaku or Dzeko.
Big Belgian striker Lukaku has been struggling recently so there is a chance he could get replaced. He did however score the only goal in their last 16 tie vs Porto, which ultimately earned them qualification to the quarter finals.
Benfica average 2.52 goals per game and just 0.59 against. They also have impressive xG and xGA numbers. The one statistic that really stands out is just 1.89 SOT against per match. They have fired an average of 16.26 shots per match themselves and regularly pepper the opposition goal.
Benfica average a whopping 7.78 corners in each fixture and concede just 3.22. Cards have been very high in their games at 2.11 for and 3.04 against. Taking Nicolas Otamendi out of the team might reduce those statistics though because he has been a card machine this season!
Inter average 1.66 goals per game and 1.14 against. Their xG and xGA numbers are also impressive. They have recently been underachieving at both ends of the field. Simone Inzaghi’s men average 16.48 shots per game and just 10.59 against. They fire in exactly five SOT in each fixture which is quite impressive.
Inter have significantly beaten their opponents on the corner count. They’ve racked up an average of 6.07 themselves, whilst conceding only 3.62 at the other end. Cards have been high in their games. Internazionale themselves average 1.86 per match whilst their opponents average 2.55.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Goncalo Ramos averages 3.90 shots per 90 mins with a decent 1.67 on target. Silva averages 2.88 shots per 90 mins but isn’t overly accurate. Joao Mario is the designated penalty taker and averages 2.06 shots per 90 mins. Both Grimaldo, Gilberto and possibly Aursnes might try their luck at least once in this match as well.
Lautaro Martinez averages a massive 4.12 shots per 90 mins. He likes to try his luck and has a reasonable conversion rate of 1.57 SOT. Lukaku is more of a hold up target man at times, but still averages over 2 shots per 90 mins with around 35% accuracy. Dzeko is another player to look at in this market when he’s on the field.
It is noticeable that both wingbacks Dumfries and Dimarco average 1.45 and 1.91 shots per 90 mins respectively, even if neither are especially accurate.
Player Goals and Assists
Benfica have a strong attacking trio who are all dangerous. Goncalo Ramos has 17 goals and is the joint top scorer. Joao Mario also has 17 goals and is aided by being the penalty taker. Rafa Silva has 6 goals and 3 assists. The top assister is left back Grimaldo with 8 whilst Joao Mario has 6.
Lautaro Martinez has scored 14 goals in addition to supplying 3 assists. He is a very streaky striker though and right now is in the middle of a cold run, failing to score in any of his last 8 games in all competitions. Lukaku only has 3 goals but missed a large chunk of the season due to injury. The leading assist provider is Barella (6), and he has also netted five goals. Left wing back DiMarco has three goals and two assists.
Benfica average 64.7% possession domestically but that figure drops to 51.5% in the Champions League. They did rack up 57% of the ball in the last 16 home leg vs Club Brugge and 54% in the away trip.
This is a different sort of challenge, but Benfica do like to pass the ball short so players such as Florentino Luis and Chiquinho could be worth looking at in the passing markets.
Inter average 56.10% possession although that is a figure which drops to 47.3% in the Champions League. It is worth noting that they were in a group which contained both Barcelona and Bayern Munich though.
In their most recent trip to Portugal, Simone’s side only had 35% of the ball vs Porto in the last 16. Centre backs Bastoni and Acerbi are perhaps most likely to rack up any passing numbers, but this might be a night where Inter don’t get that much possession.
Benfica Cards and Fouls
Centre back Nicolas Otamendi is suspended and has been a massive card machine this season. If 21 year old Brazilian Morata does come into the side, he could be worth watching for fouls and cards. Rafa Silva has 6 cards, whilst Aursnes and Joao Mario have racked up a good number too.
Benfica are the sort of team not especially known for producing high numbers of fouls but could easily go into the book for unsportsmanlike conduct, dissent and also time wasting. Goncalo Ramos is the type of forward who will press and give away cheap free kicks, averaging 2.03 fouls per 90 mins.
Striker Lautaro Martinez is going to be a tricky matchup for Porto. He has a high dribbling and fouled rate per 90 mins. The wingbacks DiMarco and Dumfries will regularly get forward causing havoc. Dumfries especially knows how to buy a few cheap free kicks. The big contender to cause problems centrally is playmaker Nicolo Barella, who is on average fouled 1.62 times per 90 mins.
Matchups to watch
Morata vs Lautaro Martinez
Rafa Silva vs Nicolo Barella
Alex Grimaldo vs Federico Dimarco
Inter Milan Cards and Fouls
Midfielder Marcelo Brozovic is the most likely card candidate for Inter. Brozovic likes to get stuck in on the big stage and will be up against the technical trickery of Rafa Silva here. Both Barella and Dumfries could also be contenders to go into the book and average 1.12 and 1.35 fouls per 90 mins each respectively.
Benfica draw a lot of fouls from their opponents. They are a strong technical side with plenty of agility and trickery. Attacking midfielder Rafa Silva dribbles a massive 5.76 times per 90 mins, and winger Joao Mario is another who has a high dribbling rate.
Goncalo Ramos is set to start upfront and gets fouled on average nearly twice per 90 mins. He is a big matchup problem for the Inter defenders with perhaps Acerbi being tasked to deal with him.
Matchups to watch
Marcelo Brozovic vs Rafa Silva
Denzel Dumfries vs Alex Grimaldo
Francesco Acerbi vs Goncalo Ramos
My Bet Builder Picks of the Pack
This game should be action-packed, full of goals, and the referee will undoubtedly have a busy game. Using the stats above there are a few bet builder selections that stood out to me as decent value, which you can add to your bet builder in one click below.