Lille will host FC Porto later Wednesday in the first leg of the Champions League Playoffs. Both sides have enjoyed decent beginnings in their domestic leagues, with the Ligue 1 outfit gaining four points from their first two games, whereas the former Portuguese champions won their first and only game thus far.
Lille lines up in a 4-4-2 diamond formation, whereas Porto customizes the 4-3-3. Both formations rely on attacking soccer, but the former gets straight to the point with two strikers always looking to find one another — or the back of the net themselves. Porto spreads the play sweetly by using the wingers to either send the ball in, or cut inside themselves to find an easier opening for a pass or a shot on frame.
Divock Origi, now on loan to Lille for the season from his new employers Liverpool, will be crucial on the scoring front for his teammates as he is their fastest, trickiest and smartest scorer. He will have lots of help from Ivorian international Salomon Kalou, who can find teammates just as easily as he can score.
Porto will rely on top striker Jackson Martinez, who has assistance from wingers Ricardo Quaresma and Algerian international Yacine Brahimi, who both can create magic on the ball. This front three will make life tough for the back line of the French side.
Both teams are talented, but Porto have a bit more on paper. As we should already know, this game is not played on paper and since it is going to be played in France, intimidation could always become a crucial factor as the Portuguese side is not expected to dominate this one.
They can win this by one or even two goals, but the resistance and overflowing attack of Lille will be nearly too much to handle.
Prediction: Lille 1-2 Porto