Leipzig were paired with Portuguese giants on their 2017/18 debut and face a similar task this season against Benfica.
Article top media content
RB Leipzig are in the UEFA Champions League group stage for only the second time but, as on their 2017/18 debut, they have been paired with Portuguese competition regulars as they travel to Lisbon to take on Benfica.
• The German side earned their first European win against Benfica's great domestic rivals Porto in their third fixture two years ago, and will be aiming to make a positive start in their first ever fixture against a club who are embarking on their tenth successive UEFA Champions League campaign.
• Although this is the teams' first competitive meeting, they met in a summer 2017 friendly, Leipzig winning 2-0 in London with Marcel Halstenberg scoring one of the goals.
• Champions of Portugal for a record 37th time last season, Benfica are in the group stage for the 15th time, although only five of those previous 14 campaigns have extended into the last 16; they also reached the quarter-finals direct in 1994/95.
• In 2018/19 Benfica finished third behind Bayern München and Ajax in Group E, advancing into the UEFA Europa League having picked up seven points. They went on to beat Galatasaray (2-1 aggregate) and Dinamo Zagreb (3-1 aggregate) only to succumb to Eintracht Frankfurt on away goals in the quarter-finals (4-2 h, 0-2 a).
• The first leg against Eintracht was the first time Benfica had scored more than one goal in normal time in 15 European games in Lisbon, managing just 11 in total during that sequence.
• The Eagles have lost only one of their last eight European home matches (W4 D3), although that sole defeat came at the hands of German opposition on matchday one last season, Bayern running out 2-0 winners.
• Benfica have vast experience against German opposition, their 48 UEFA matches having yielded 14 wins, 14 draws and 20 defeats. They have lost only three of the 23 games played at home (W12 D8).
• The Lisbon giants have reached seven European Cup finals, winning the trophy in 1961 and 1962.
• Third in the Bundesliga last season and German Cup finalists, this is Leipzig's third European campaign, and only their 25th match. They became the first team to make their European debut in the UEFA Champions League group stage in 2017/18, when they picked up seven points to finish third in a section including Beşiktaş, Porto and Monaco. They went on to reach the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals before losing to Marseille.
• Two years ago Leipzig lost at Beşiktaş (0-2) and Porto, but did record a 4-1 success at Monaco to claim their first European away victory.
• In 2018/19 the German club came through three qualifying rounds to reach the UEFA Europa League group stage, but finished behind Salzburg and Celtic to drop out of the competition, collecting seven points from their three games.
• Leipzig have won only three of their 12 European away matches (D4 L5).
• One of those five away defeats came in their sole previous trip to Portugal, a 3-1 loss at Porto on matchday four of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League with Timo Werner scoring the visitors' only goal. Willi Orban and Emil Forsberg had both been on target in a 3-2 home win two weeks earlier, Leipzig's debut European success.
Links and trivia
• Benfica goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos was born in Germany and began his career with hometown club Stuttgart. He was an unused squad member in Germany's 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship victory.
• Benfica striker Haris Seferović played for Eintracht Frankfurt for three seasons, scoring 16 Bundesliga goals, before moving to Lisbon in 2017. He was in the team that lost 3-0 to Leipzig in January 2017, Werner scoring the second goal, while Marcel Sabitzer and Yussuf Poulsen were on target in a 2-2 draw between Leipzig and Eintracht that May.
• Forsberg scored the only goal as Sweden won 1-0 win against a Switzerland for whom Seferović came on as a second-half substitute in the 2018 FIFA World Cup round of 16.
• Hannes Wolf was in the Salzburg team that beat Benfica 2-1 to win the 2017 UEFA Youth League final; Rúben Dias, Florentino Luís, Gedson Fernandes and Jota featured for the Portuguese side.
• Summer transfers
In: Jhonder Cádiz (Vitória FC), Caio Lucas (al-Ain), Chiquinho (Moreirense), Raúl de Tomás (Real Madrid), Carlos Vinícius (Napoli)
Out: Raúl Jiménez (Wolves), Bruno Varela (Ajax, loan), Diogo Gonçalves (Famalicão, loan), João Félix (Atlético Madrid), Filip Krovinović (West Brom, loan), Alfa Semedo (Nottingham Forest, loan), Yuri Ribeiro (Nottingham Forest), Cristian Lema (Newell's Old Boys), Eduardo Salvio (Boca Juniors), Chris Willock (West Brom, loan)
• Benfica won the Portuguese Super Cup on 4 August with a 5-0 win against Lisbon rivals Sporting CP.
• The Eagles kicked off their defence of the Liga title with another 5-0 win at home against Paços de Ferreira before a 2-0 victory at Belenenses, but their 11-match winning league run was halted by a 2-0 loss at home to Porto on 24 August.
• That was Benfica's first home defeat since a 3-1 loss against Moreirense on 2 November 2018; their record since had been W18 D3. The Eagles beat Gil Vicente 2-0 in Lisbon on Saturday, top scorer Pizzi registering his sixth league goal of the campaign after earlier missing a penalty.
• Benfica have scored 39 goals in their last 11 league matches.
• Adel Taarabt featured in both of Morocco's friendlies during the international break, his first caps since March 2014. He has signed a new Benfica contract until 2022.
• Gabriel has been out since 4 August with a knee injury while Chiquinho limped out of the Porto match with a thigh problem. Vinícius (thigh), Gedson (foot), Germán Conti (thigh) and David Tavares (knee) are all out of action.
• In August Odisseas Vlachodimos, Haris Seferović and Tomás Tavares all signed new contracts until 2024.
• Summer transfers
In: Hannes Wolf (Salzburg), Luan Cândido (Palmeiras), Christopher Nkunku (Paris), Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea, loan), Ademola Lookman (Everton), Philipp Tschauner (Hannover), Patrik Schick (Roma, loan)
Out: Bruma (PSV Eindhoven), Julian Krahl (Köln), Marius Müller (Luzern), Jean-Kévin Augustin (Monaco, loan)
• Leipzig won 3-2 at second division VfL Osnabrück in the German Cup first round on 11 August, Marcel Sabitzer scoring twice, and will visit Wolfsburg in October's second round.
• Leipzig were the only team to win their first three league games this season, prevailing 4-0 at Union Berlin, 2-1 at home to Eintracht Frankfurt and 3-1 at Borussia Mönchengladbach. Their perfect start was ended by Saturday's 1-1 draw at home to champions Bayern München, but the result was good enough to keep them top of the Bundesliga.
• Timo Werner scored all three goals in Gladbach and has five in the first four Bundesliga games.
• Christopher Nkunku marked his debut at Union Berlin with a goal as a substitute.
• Sabitzer and Konrad Laimer were on target for Austria in a 6-0 UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying win against Latvia on 6 September; Patrik Schick scored for the Czech Republic in a 2-1 loss in Kosovo the following day.
• Emil Forsberg scored Sweden's equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Norway on 8 September, while Marcel Halstenberg gave Germany the lead with his first international goal in a 2-0 win away to Northern Ireland on 9 September.
• Tyler Adams has been out since the beginning of August due to a metatarsal injury.
• On 17 June Hannes Wolf scored for Austria against Serbia in their first game of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship before breaking his right ankle.