Tottenham travel to Benfica in Round 16 of the Europa League knowing that they must make home advantage count if they're to take the bout, with the gruelling prospect of a trip to Portugal in the two-leg round.
Meanwhile, Napoli will be hoping to bag an away goal as they also take on Portuguese opposition, facing Porto at Estadio do Dragao, while Lyon look to ensure that France is represented in the next round as they take on Viktoria Plzen.
There are two inter-country ties, too, as Serie A leaders Juventus take on Fiorentina, while Sevilla take on fellow La Liga outfit Real Betis, with a place in the Europa League quarter-finals up for grabs.
|Date||Time||Fixture||TV Info||Live Stream||Prediction|
|March 13||6 p.m. GMT, 2 p.m. ET||Basel v FC Red Bull Salzburg||Fox Soccer Plus||FoxSoccer2Go||3-0|
|March 13||6 p.m. GMT, 2 p.m. ET||FC Porto v Napoli||ITV 4||ITV Player||1-3|
|March 13||6 p.m. GMT, 2 p.m. ET||Ludogorets Razgrad v Valencia CF||Fox Soccer Plus||FoxSoccer2Go||0-4|
|March 13||8.05 p.m. GMT, 4.05 p.m. ET||AZ Alkmaar v Anzhi Makhachkala||Fox Soccer Plus||FoxSoccer2Go||2-2|
|March 13||8.05 p.m. GMT, 4.05 p.m. ET||Juventus v Fiorentina||Fox Soccer Plus||FoxSoccer2Go||1-1|
|March 13||8.05 p.m. GMT, 4.05 p.m. ET||Tottenham v Benfica||ITV 1||ITV Player||4-2|
|March 13||8.05 p.m. GMT, 4.05 p.m. ET||Lyon v Viktoria Plzen||Fox Soccer Plus||FoxSoccer2Go||2-0|
|March 13||8.05 p.m. GMT, 4.05 p.m. ET||Sevilla v Real Betis||Fox Soccer Plus||FoxSoccer2Go||3-1|
Tottenham vs. Benfica
Tottenham will have to put their preparations for the North London derby bout with Arsenal, and any Champions League qualification hopes, on hold as European commitments take centre stage at White Hart Lane.
Spurs will need Roberto Soldado to start firing in this competition, with the Spaniard failing to score in both legs against Dnipro in the last round, per WhoScored, while Emmanuel Adebayor remains in good form going into the first leg after his timely double secured Spurs' place in the Round of 16.
Benfica finished as runners up in last season's competition after their last-minute final heartache against London opposition, with Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic netting from a header to seal a 2-1 win to lift the trophy.
Who will win the first leg?
But the side recorded an aggregate 4-0 victory over PAOK Thessaloniki to ensure their place against Spurs as 30-year-old striker Lima scored two, adding to strikes from Nicolas Gaitan and Lazar Markovic, to set up the match at White Hart Lane.
Benfica's back four will be out to prove a point as they take on the Premier League outfit, failing to keep a clean sheet in any of their Champions League group matches, per WhoScored, which will add some comfort to Spurs' attacking line.
Sherwood's men will look to impose themselves on Benfica from the start through Adebayor and Soldado as they look to restrict Benfica's away-goal chances at the other end, with the visitors showing their depth as Lima and Markovic stepped off of the bench to both score against PAOK.
The Spurs boss knows well of the fluidity of Benfica's play, and notes that his side will show them full respect, as tweeted by Spurs' official feed:
Tim: "We know how important it is to keep a clean sheet at home and we’ll then go over to Lisbon with the intention to score."— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 12, 2014
Tim: "Benfica are clear in the Portuguese title race, they are fluid in their play from back to front and we’ll show them respect."— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 12, 2014
Tim: "They are seen as a Champions League side and were unlucky to drop out of the CL, but we’re not fazed. We’ll give it our best shot."— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 12, 2014
Jorge Jesus' side will be looking to reach the final once again but, this time, go the distance as Benfiquistas search for their first piece of European silverware since 1962. If Spurs can maintain their shape and hit Benfica where it hurts, pressure will be on Jesus' men in the second leg to rewrite their own history.
Prediction: Tottenham 4-2 Benfica
FC Porto vs. Napoli
Porto had to rely on a late goal from Nabil Ghilas as the side edged through to the last 16, with away goals proving pivotal in their 5-5 aggregate draw with Eintracht Frankfurt.
Eliaquim Mangala scored a double as the side overturned a two-goal deficit, with Ghilas popping up with two minutes to go to seal the draw, and set up the match with Napoli.
Meanwhile, the Italians saw off Swansea to book their place in the next round, with a goalless draw in Wales followed up by a 3-1 home win. Goals from Lorenzo Insigne, Gonzalo Higuain and Gokhan Inler resulted in the side's victory.
The visitors will have to make their attacking presence known as they take on Porto, and as seen in the last round, the hosts' ability to shut out the opposition hasn't been all too fruitful in the Europa League this term.
Who will win the first leg?
Higuain remains Napoli's top European scorer this season with five strikes in the Champions League and Europa League fixtures, per WhoScored, as he continues to profit from plenty of creativity from midfield.
It's this ingenuity from the visitors that will prove telling on the day, while Porto's never-say-die spirit could see them push their opponents, but they will have to be careful not to open the floodgates, with away goals at stake once again.
These two sides haven't met since 1974, with the Italians recording two 1-0 victories in their two-legged UEFA Cup tie to see off their Portuguese counterparts. It will be the visitors who will be looking to maintain their 40-year unbeaten record against Porto.
Prediction: FC Porto 1-3 Napoli
Juventus vs. Fiorentina
Serie A's league leaders host Fiorentina, with Juventus knowing that should they reach the final, they'll be on home soil and with an excellent chance to seal their first major European cup win since 1996.
The two sides met on March 9, with the Turin side bagging a 1-0 win to dent Fiorentina's chances of Champions League football next season.
According to Sky Sports, Fiorentina coach Vicenzo Montella admitted that he was pleased with his side's second-half display in the Serie A match and wanted more of the same against Juventus in the Europa League fixture:
I want my team to pick up where they left off in the second half against Juventus on Sunday. I was satisfied with my team's performance and we have to have confidence in view of Thursday's match. Juventus are strong but I think we can have a say.
Meanwhile, Juventus boss Antonio Conte is expecting a fight from their Round of 16 opponents, and he paid tribute to Montella's managerial abilities, per Sky Sports:
I expect a battling Fiorentina. They will be determined to progress in the competition because they have little to play for in Serie A while we, in contrast, have a third straight Scudetto to work for. Fiorentina will try to put all that they have into this competition.
Montella is a great coach and I think this tie will be a beautiful advert for Italian and European football. It would be fantastic to go all the way in this competition, it would allow us to grow from an international standpoint.
Kwadwo Asamoah bagged the goal to settle the weekend's win for his team, and the side will be hoping that on-loan striker Dani Osvaldo can add to his two goals in this year's contest.
Who will win the first leg?
They'll come up against a resilient opponent, however, with Fiorentina winning four of their five away games in this year's Europa League. Still, they have kept just one clean sheet while on the road, per WhoScored.
Montella's men recorded a 4-2 home win over Conte's outfit earlier in the season, and with their excellent home form, they'll be hoping to come out of the game at Juventus Stadium unscathed, looking to continue their defensive shutout while hoping that Ryder, with three goals in eight appearances in Europe this season, per WhoScored, can snatch an away goal.
Both sides know each other well from domestic life, and they will have to be patient as the on-field poker game takes shape, with neither side wanting to show their hand from the outset.
Prediction: Juventus 1-1 Fiorentina
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