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Schalke seeking to extend Benfica's poor run

FC Schalke 04 are determined to make a better start to their home campaign than three years ago while SL Benfica will want to amend their poor record in Germany.

Schalke seeking to extend Benfica's poor run
Schalke seeking to extend Benfica's poor run ©UEFA.com

When they were last in the UEFA Champions League group stage, FC Schalke 04 failed to score in their first two home games. They will be hoping for a better outcome against SL Benfica, who have not won in Germany in 17 competitive attempts.

• The German side will be looking to get off the mark having lost 1-0 at Olympique Lyonnais on Matchday 1, while Benfica began by beating Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC in Lisbon.

Previous meetings
• Schalke, making their fourth appearance in the group stage, have met Portuguese opponents in UEFA competition on three occasions, all knockout ties, and emerged triumphant each time. The last encounter was in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League last 16 against FC Porto, when both legs ended 1-0 in favour of the home side. Schalke went through 4-1 on penalties at the end of the second leg in Portugal.

• Porto were also Schalke's first opponents from Portugal. In the 1976/77 UEFA Cup first round, last season's Bundesliga runners-up won 3-2 at home to edge through 5-4 on aggregate. Against SC Braga in the third round of the same competition in 1997/98, Schalke won 2-0 in Gelsenkirchen having first earned a goalless draw away.

• Benfica have played 32 games against Bundesliga opposition (W8 D12 L12) but have never won in Germany in 17 attempts, their record showing six draws and 11 defeats. They drew 1-1 at Hertha BSC Berlin in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32, following up with a 4-0 home win thanks to two goals from Óscar Cardozo and one each from Pablo Aimar and Javi García.

Match background
• When they were last in the UEFA Champions League, Schalke's 3-1 home win against Rosenborg BK on Matchday 6 took them into the knockout rounds for the first time. They began that 2007/08 campaign with a 1-0 home defeat by Valencia CF and later drew 0-0 with Chelsea FC in Gelsenkirchen. After overcoming Porto, they then lost 1-0 home and away to FC Barcelona.

• Benfica, whose rich continental pedigree includes triumphs in the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1961 and 1962, are back in the UEFA Champions League after a two-year absence and have five previous participations in the competition. In last season's UEFA Europa League they reached the quarter-finals, playing a total of seven away games, including the play-off round, and won three with three defeats.

• In their last UEFA Champions League campaign in 2007/08, in which they finished third in the group, the Portuguese champions began with a 2-1 defeat at AC Milan and then lost 1-0 away to Celtic FC. On Matchday 6 they won 2-1 at FC Shakhtar Donetsk.

Team ties
• Christoph Metzelder, Raúl González and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar were team-mates of Javi García at Real Madrid CF in 2008/09.

• Javier Saviola was also at Madrid between 2007 and 2009.

• Aimar was in the Valencia team that lost on penalties to FC Bayern München in the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League final.

• Hans Sarpei played for Ghana in this year's FIFA World Cup quarter-final against a Uruguay side featuring Maxi Pereira. The Johannesburg game ended 1-1 after extra time, the South Americans prevailing 4-2 on penalties. Pereira was the only one of Uruguay's five penalty takers to miss.

• Nuno Gomes scored for Portugal in a 3-1 defeat by a Germany side including Metzelder in the 2006 World Cup match for third place. Gomes also scored in the 3-2 defeat by the same opponents in the UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-finals.

• Peer Kluge was in the 1. FC Nürnberg team beaten 3-2 on aggregate by Benfica in the 2007/08 UEFA Europa League round of 32. Luisão, David Luiz and Cardozo all appeared for the Portuguese side.