Champions League Group C: Ex-players aplenty in Atleti-Benfica battle
Remarkably, European giants Atletico Madrid and Benfica have never met in a competitive clash, but it is the hosts and 2013/14 Champions League runners-up Atleti that go into this Group C encounter as odds-on 8/15 match favourites with Coral.
Despite their lack of head-to-heads, though, a whole host of players from both teams will be coming up against their former clubs, with Eagles striker Raul Jimenez a tempting shout to inflict misery on his former side.
The Mexico international made the switch to Portugal this summer, and has already grabbed a goal for Benfica this season, although has only been used as a sub in his seven appearances. He is, therefore, 11/4 to score anytime and 8/1 to strike last.
Other former Atleti players in the Eagles’ current nest include Pizzi (7/1 in the anytime market) and loanee Silvio Pereira (25/1), who is eligible to face his parent club. Winger Eduardo Salvio misses out through injury, though.
For Atletico, veteran midfielder Tiago Mendes will host the side he played for in his early career, and he is 6/1 to net against them. Left back Guilherme Siqueira and highly-rated young keeper Jan Oblak also spent time on Benfica’s books, and are 6/5 to help their team to a win without conceding.
Diego Simeone’s main men up front, however, will be Antoine Griezmann (evens in the anytime market), Jackson Martinez (6/5) and Fernando Torres (also 6/5).
France forward Griezmann, in particular, has shone the brightest so far, grabbing five goals this term, including two in the 2-0 victory against Galatasaray in their Group C opener. He is 5/1 to bag another brace or better.
Visitors Benfica also won their first Champions League by that scoreline, against Astana, and are 6/1 to triumph at the Vicente Calderon.
They have their own attackers to turn to too in Brazil-capped Jonas, former Fulham flop forward Kostas Mitroglou and Argentina star Nicolas Gaitan. The latter duo were on target against the Kazakh club, so 11/4 and 6/1 to find the net anytime again.
The Lions will be hoping to take advantage of the fact that Atleti will be without injured duo Koke and Oliver Torres, so a draw is a tempting 3/1 price.
Coral’s top tip: Mexican Jimenez was never really given a chance at Atletico, so is 8/1 to score last for new club Benfica and show them what they’re missing.