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Beşiktaş begin again with trip to Benfica

After seven years waiting for a return to the UEFA Champions League, Beşiktaş JK start Group B with a visit to Portugal to take on SL Benfica on matchday one.

The indomitable eagle at the Estádio da Luz
The indomitable eagle at the Estádio da Luz ©Getty Images

Beşiktaş JK return to the UEFA Champions League after a six-season absence with a trip to Portugal to take on SL Benfica.  

• It is the first time the sides have faced each other on the European stage.

Match background  

• They also met Turkish opposition in last season's group stage, losing 2-1 at Galatasaray AŞ and winning by the same score at home.

• The Portugese side won three of their five home games in last season's competition, losing 2-1 against Club Atlético de Madrid on matchday six. They were knocked out by FC Bayern München in the quarter-finals (0-1 away, 2-2 home).

• Benfica were 3-1 aggregate winners (2-0 home, 1-1 away) against a Trabzonspor AŞ side coached by Şenol Güneş, now in charge of Beşiktaş, in the 2011/12 third qualifying round.

• Galatasaray's 2-0 win in Lisbon in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage was Benfica's only blemish in an otherwise faultless home record against Turkish opponents. They have won all other such fixtures, including a 3-1 victory against Fenerbahçe SK in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League semi-finals to progress to the final where they lost 2-1 to Chelsea FC.

• The Portuguese side's overall record against Turkish clubs is W5 D2 L4; at home it is W5 D0 L1.

• Back in the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2009/10, the Turkish Super Lig champions are hoping to negotiate the group stage hurdle for the first time at the sixth attempt.

• They have lost all their previous matchday one fixtures in the UEFA Champions League. Seven years ago they were beaten 1-0 by Manchester United FC at home in their first game but won by the same scoreline at Old Trafford. The Turkish team nevertheless finished bottom of Group B with four points, losing all their home games.

• Beşiktaş met Portuguese opponents last season in the UEFA Europa League group stage. They drew 1-1 with Sporting Clube de Portugal at home on matchday two before losing 3-1 in Lisbon.

• They have won twice in Portugal: 2-0 at SC Braga in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League round of 32 and 3-1 against Vitória SC in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage. Their record in nine games against Portuguese clubs is W2 D2 L5 (W2 D1 L2 away).

Coach and player links
• Ricardo Quaresma started his career with Sporting, scoring eight goals in 59 Portuguese Liga appearances before leaving for FC Barcelona in 2003. He was at FC Porto from 2004 to 2008 and again from 2013 to 2015, when he signed for Beşiktaş.

• While at Club Atlético de Madrid, Eduardo Salvio scored three goals over two legs against Beşiktaş in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League round of 16.

• Talisca is on loan at Beşiktaş from Benfica until the end of the season having scored 12 goals in his 53 league games over two seasons with the Portuguese club.

• Vincent Aboubakar played for Porto between 2014 and 2016 and scored the decisive goal in their win at Benfica last season past Júlio César. He also scored Cameroon's goal in a 5-1 defeat by Portugal in a friendly international on 5 March 2014.

• Atiba Hutchinson scored for FC København in a 2-1 defeat by Benfica in the 2007/08 season UEFA Champions League third qualifying round first leg. 

• Players who played together:
Júlio Cesar & Quaresma (FC Internazionale Milano, 2008–10)
Jonas & Marcelo (Santos FC, 2007)
Kostas Mitroglou & Olcay Şahan (VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach II, 2006/07)
Mitroglou & Kerim Frei (Fulham FC, 2013/14)

• International team-mates:
Ljubomir Fejsa & Tošić (Serbia)
Júlio Cesar, Luisão, Jonas & Adriano (Brazil)
Eliseu, Pizzi, Rafa & Quaresma (Portugal)

Match facts

• Rui Vitória serves a touchline ban on matchday one.

Jonas is struggling with a foot problem
Jonas is struggling with a foot problem©AFP/Getty Images

• Brazilian striker Jonas, Benfica's top scorer last season, has not played since August because of a right foot injury.

• Ljubomir Fejsa pulled out of international duty with an adductor problem but played in Friday's 2-1 win at Arouca; Raúl Jiménez picked up a knee injury playing for Mexico against El Salvador.

• The Eagles' run of 13 successive league wins, dating back to February, ended with a 1-1 draw at home to Vitória FC on 21 August.

• Benfica started the season with a 3-0 win against SC Braga to win their sixth Portuguese Super Cup.

• Rui Vitória's side have won their last 14 away games in the league and are one away from the record set under English manager Jimmy Hagan 43 years ago. Benfica have not dropped a point on their travels in the Portuguese Liga in 2016.

• Kostas Mitroglou scored the equaliser as Greece beat the Netherlands 2-1 in a friendly on 1 September. He contributed a goal and two assists five days later in a 4-1 win away to Gibraltar in the European Qualifiers.

• Several Benfica players were on international duty during the recent break: Eliseu, Rafa Silva (both Portugal), Andreas Samaris, Mitroglou (both Greece), Victor Lindelöf (Sweden), Jiménez (Mexico), Guillermo Celis (Colombia), Alex Grimaldo (Spain U21s), Andrija Živković (Serbia U21s), André Horta, Ricardo Horta and Gonçalo Guedes (all Portugal U21s).

In-form: Cenk Tosun
In-form: Cenk Tosun©Getty Images

• Cenk Tosun has scored four goals in his last three games for Beşiktaş.

• Coach Şenol Güneş made a number of changes for the Black Eagles' 3-1 defeat of Karabükspor on Saturday, with Ricardo Quaresma, Atiba Hutchinson and Atınç Nukan rested while Tolga Zengin, Adriano, Oğuzhan Özyakup and forward Vincent Aboubakar all began on the bench. Necip Uysal was suspended.

• Brazilian left-back Adriano came on after 60 minutes, returning from a thigh strain sustained late in the first half of Beşiktaş's 4-1 win against newcomers Alanyaspor in their Super League opener on 20 August.

• Six players made their Super League debuts for Beşiktaş against Karabükspor: Fabri, Gökhan Gönül, Caner Erkin, Gökhan İnler, Talisca and Vincent Aboubakar.

• After beginning their 2016/17 title defence with that 4-1 win against Alanyaspor, Beşiktaş drew 2-2 draw at Konyaspor. The Black Eagles have won only once in their last seven trips to Konya.

• The Black Eagles had the best away record in the Turkish top flight last season, picking up 36 points out of a possible 51.

• Beşiktaş lost the Turkish Super Cup 3-0 in a penalty shoot-out against Galatasaray on 13 August, with the score 0-0 after 90 minutes and 1-1 after 120. Oğuzhan Özyakup, Cenk Tosun and Hutchinson all missed from the spot.