There is a meeting of two Portuguese coaches, and old Porto colleagues, Nuno Espírito Santo's Valencia CF host André Villas-Boas's FC Zenit on matchday one.
Valencia will look to maintain Zenit's record of having lost every game in Spain when the teams meet in their opening Group H fixture at Mestalla.
• It is the first UEFA Champions League match as a coach for Valencia's Nuno Espírito Santo and comes against André Villas-Boas, an old colleague from their days at FC Porto under José Mourinho.
• Fourth in the Spanish Liga last term, Valencia reached the group stage with a 4-3 aggregate play-off success over AS Monaco FC. Their 3-1 first-leg win against the Ligue 1 side extended their unbeaten European run at Mestalla to seven matches.
• This is Valencia's first UEFA Champions League campaign since 2012/13, when they reached the round of 16.
• Valencia were absent from Europe last season but in 2013/14 reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League.
• Valencia have never lost at home to a team from Russia (W4 L1). When they last faced Russian opponents – FC Kuban Krasnodar in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League group stage – Paco Alcácer scored in both their 2-0 away win and 1-1 home draw.
• For Zenit this is the fifth consecutive season of UEFA Champions League group stage football. Last season they finished third in their group and went on to reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League.
• Zenit's run in last season's UEFA Europa League ended with a 4-3 aggregate defeat by Sevilla FC. Their 2-1 first-leg loss in Seville maintained their miserable record on Spanish soil, where Zenit have lost on all seven previous visits.
• Zenit are on a nine-game winless streak against Spanish sides dating back to their triumphant 2007/08 UEFA Cup run when they beat Villarreal CF 1-0 at home in the round of 32 to set up an away-goals success. Aleksandr Anyukov, Viktor Fayzulin and Vyacheslav Malafeev played in that match.
Coach and player links
• Villas-Boas's first UEFA Champions League away game as a coach was a trip to the Mestalla with Chelsea FC for a 1-1 draw in September 2011. He later oversaw a 3-0 matchday six home victory over Valencia which took Chelsea into the knockout stage.
• Villas-Boas's Porto side won two-legged ties against both Sevilla and Villarreal during their triumphant 2010/11 UEFA Europa League campaign.
• Nuno was reserve goalkeeper at Porto when Villas-Boas was working as Mourinho's assistant coach from 2002–04.
• Nuno later played alongside Danny for FC Dinamo Moskva (2005–2006) and was in the same Porto squad as Hulk (2008–10).
• Aymen Abdennour scored Monaco's first goal in the 2-0 win over Zenit that confirmed the Russian side's UEFA Champions League exit on matchday six last season.
• Sofiane Feghouli faced Fayzulin, Aleksandr Kerzakhov and Oleg Shatov at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, when his Algeria side eliminated Russia with a 1-1 draw in their final group fixture.
• Players who have played together:
Álvaro Negredo, Dani Parejo & Javi García (Real Madrid Castilla 2006–07)
André Gomes, Rodrigo Moreno, Enzo Pérez & Ezequiel Garay, Axel Witsel (SL Benfica)
Rodrigo & Javi García (Benfica 2011–12)
João Cancelo & Garay (Benfica 2013–14)
Lucas Orbán, Pérez, Pablo Piatti & Garay (Argentina)
André Gomes & Danny (Portugal)
Parejo & García (Spain Under-21)
• Valencia drew both of their opening Liga games, 0-0 at Rayo Vallecano and 1-1 with RC Deportivo La Coruña, making this their worst start to a campaign since 1999/2000, the year they reached the UEFA Champions League final.
• They looked certain to draw three in a row, but Paco Alcácer struck in added time to secure a 1-0 win against Sporting Gijón on Saturday.
• Goalkeepers Diego Alves (cruciate ligament damage, not in the UEFA Champions League squad) and Matthew Ryan (knee) are sidelined.
• André Gomes missed pre-season and the first two Liga fixtures with a thigh injury but has since returned to training.
• Zenit have lost their last two home league matches – 2-0 to FC Krasnodar and 3-1 against PFC Krylya Sovetov Samara. They suffered only one Premier-Liga defeat at Stadion Petrovski last season and three in the championship overall.
• Villas-Boas was given a six-game touchline ban after being sent to the stands during the Krylya Sovetov Samara fixture on 29 August.
• The Portuguese announced on 10 September that he will leave Zenit at the end of the season.
• The Blue-White-Sky Blues are six points behind leaders PFC CSKA Moskva after seven matches – at the same stage last term they had a 100% record.
• Zenit will play third-tier FC Volga Tver in the first round of the Russian Cup on 23 or 24 September.
• Artem Dzyuba registered the only goal as Russia edged Sweden in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying on 5 September and was then on target four times in the 7-0 defeat of Liechtenstein. Prior to the Sweden game he had scored twice at senior international level.
• Hulk scored in Brazil's friendly victories over Costa Rica (1-0) and the United States (4-1).
• Garay missed Argentina's friendlies against Bolivia and Mexico due to hamstring and thigh problems respectively.