The Russian side have the exact same record as Lyon, sitting on seven points, but are in the box seat due to their superior head-to-head record, while Benfica are already eliminated.
For some time now, the story of Benfica has been one of unchallenged success on a domestic level and marked failure in the Champions League.
Since 2010, the Lisbon side has left the Champions League at the group phase on seven occasions while also winning the Primeira Liga six times during the same period.
Failure to translate domestic dominance into European competence can often be explained by a league containing opponents of a lesser quality, but in Benfica's case a lot of the blame can be levelled towards how the club operates structurally.
For over a decade, Benfica has been a club notable for its capacity to produce, and then release into Europe, supremely talented players - Joao Felix, Ederson, Victor Lindelof, Renato Sanches, Nelson Semedo and Raul Jimenez are just a few examples - to the detriment of how the team performs in the long term.
As Benfica now focus on strolling to another league title after the meeting with Zenit, you have to wonder whether the club's hierarchy will produce some changes in response to once again finishing bottom of their Champions League group despite having such a worldwide status.
Zenit, on the other hand, have an excellent opportunity to reach the knockout phases of this competition for the first time in four years as they ride the wave of what has been an excellent campaign.
Sitting 10 points clear at the top of the domestic table, Zenit have performed strongly in Europe save for back to back defeats to group leaders RB Leipzig.
Having kicked off their campaign with a credible 1-1 draw in Lyon, victories at home over the latter as well as Benfica demonstrate that Zenit's imperious home record could make them potentially sticky opponents in the knockout phases.
However, while losing one home game in all competitions since July serves as an impressive record, it means little ahead of this fixture, which demands Zenit to do something that they have not done since 2015 - win an away game in the Champions League.
Against a Benfica side with nothing to play for and with the knockout phases in sight, Zenit have rarely had a better opportunity to claim such a landmark victory.
Recent Benfica form (Champions League): LLWLD
Recent Benfica form (all competitions): WWDWDW
Recent Zenit Saint Petersburg form (Champions League): DWLLW
Recent Zenit Saint Petersburg form (all competitions): LWWWWW
Benfica possible starting lineup:
Vlachodimos; T. Tavares, Dias, Ferreira, Grimaldo; Pires, Taarabt, Pizzi, Cervi; Chiquinho, Vinicius
Zenit Saint Petersburg possible starting lineup:
Kerzhakov; Karavayev, Ivanovic, Rakitskiy, Santos; Barrios, Ozdoyev, Kuzyayev, Driussi; Azmoun, Dzyuba
We say: Benfica 1-2 Zenit Saint Petersburg
The combination of a five-game winning run and the importance of this fixture, compared with Benfica's lowly performances in Europe over the last few years, puts Sergei Semak's side in the box seat to take all three points in this game.
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