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Benfica v Zenit facts

Zenit are aiming to hold off Lyon to finish second in Group G, while third place is the limit of Benfica's possibilities.

Zenit's Artem Dzyuba after scoring the opening goal against Benfica on Matchday 2
Zenit's Artem Dzyuba after scoring the opening goal against Benfica on Matchday 2 ©AFP/Getty Images

Zenit are aiming to secure progress from Group G as they conclude their campaign with a trip to Benfica, whose own ambitions are restricted to attempting to claim third place in the section.

• The Russian club have won six of their last nine matches against Liga clubs – including a 3-1 defeat of Benfica on Matchday 2 this season, Artem Dzyuba (22) and Sardar Azmoun (78) finding the net either side of a 70th-minute Rúben Dias own goal before Raúl De Tomás scored an 85th-minute consolation – and have seven points, level with Lyon. Zenit will go through if they beat Benfica and Lyon do not beat Leipzig in France, or if both games are drawn due to their head-to-head superiority over Lyon, or regardless if Lyon lose.

• Benfica have four points and are unable to finish in the top two. They will finish third if they beat Zenit by a scoreline better than 3-1 and Lyon do not lose, or if they win by any score and Lyon lose to Leipzig.

Highlights: Zenit 3-1 Benfica

Previous meetings
• Before Zenit's win on Matchday 2, each side had recorded three victories – two at home and one away – in the teams' previous six meetings, with both Zenit and Benfica scoring seven goals.

• The clubs crossed paths in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League round of 16, Benfica winning 1-0 at home and 2-1 away.

• The Portuguese side had also come out on top when the teams met at the same stage of the 2011/12 competition, recovering from a 3-2 loss in Russia to go through thanks to a 2-0 victory in Lisbon.

• Zenit, however, held the upper hand in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League group stage; they were 2-0 winners in Lisbon on Matchday 1 before a 1-0 home success on Matchday 5. They finished third in the section, with Benfica fourth.

Highlights: Leipzig 2-2 Benfica

Form guide
• Benfica have won only three of their last 18 matches in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final (D2 L13), the most recent victory having come against Lyon on Matchday 3 (2-1) in their last home fixture. They looked set for another win last time out when they led 2-0 at Leipzig as the game moved into the 90th minute, only for the home side to strike twice late on and salvage a draw that took the German side through while ending Benfica's hopes of further progress.

• Benfica have lost their other three games in this season's competition, going down 2-1 at home to Leipzig and 3-1 in Lyon in addition to their defeat at Zenit.

• In 2018/19 Benfica finished third behind Bayern München and Ajax in Group E, moving 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).

• Benfica have been defeated in 15 of their last 28 European fixtures.

Highlights: Benfica 2-1 Lyon

• The first leg against Eintracht last season and the Matchday 3 win against Lyon in the current campaign are the only times Benfica have scored more than one goal in normal time in 17 European games in Lisbon, managing just 17 in total during that sequence.

• The Eagles have lost only two of their last ten European home matches (W5 D3).

• Benfica have lost twice at home to Russian teams (W5 D2), those two losses coming in their last three matches. Home and away, they have suffered three successive defeats against Russian opponents.

• 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 campaigns have extended into the last 16; they also reached the quarter-finals direct in 1994/95.

• The Lisbon giants have reached seven European Cup finals, winning the trophy in 1961 and 1962.

Highlights: Zenit 2-0 Lyon

• Zenit picked up four points from their first two Group G games, drawing 1-1 at Lyon before beating Benfica on Matchday 2, but were then defeated at Leipzig (1-2) and at home by the German club (0-2). They overcame Lyon 2-0 in St Petersburg on Matchday 5, but have still won only three of their last ten European matches (D1 L6).

• Zenit are without a win in 11 European away matches (D3 L8) since a 3-1 victory at Real Sociedad on Matchday 6 of the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League.

• Zenit claimed their sixth USSR/Russian league title in 2018/19, and the first since 2015; their last five triumphs have all come from 2007 onwards.

• This is the St Petersburg outfit's seventh UEFA Champions League group campaign, and a first since 2015/16, when they reached the round of 16 for the third time.

Highlights: Zenit 0-2 Leipzig

• In 2018/19, Zenit's 12th successive European campaign, they began in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round, staging an astonishing second-leg comeback against Dinamo Minsk in St Petersburg to win 8-1 after extra time following a shock 4-0 first-leg defeat in Belarus. They went on to beat Molde in the play-offs and finish first in a group including Slavia Praha, Bordeaux and Copenhagen, beating Fenerbahçe in the round of 32 before losing home (1-3) and away (1-2) against Villarreal in the round of 16.

• Zenit had won three games in a row in Portugal before losing 1-0 at Benfica in February 2016, their most recent visit. Their record overall away to Portuguese sides is W3 D1 L3.

Links and trivia
• Branislav Ivanović headed a late winner for Chelsea against Benfica in the 2013 UEFA Europa League final in Amsterdam.

Highlights: Leipzig 2-1 Zenit

• Ivanović played with Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa and Andrija Živković for Serbia.

• Benfica's Russian goalkeeper Ivan Zlobin spent three years at CSKA Moskva's youth academy before moving to Portugal in 2015, joining Benfica the following year.

• Yordan Osorio moved to Portugal in 2017, when he signed for Tondela. He joined Porto in summer 2018 and spent last season with Vitória SC, making his Liga debut in a 3-2 defeat against Benfica on 10 August 2018; he is on loan at Zenit from Porto.

• Zenit's Emanuel Mammana and Matías Kranevitter and Franco Cervi of Benfica are all Argentina internationals.

Latest news

• The Eagles have kicked off their defence of the Liga title with 12 wins in 13 matches, suffering only one defeat – a 2-0 loss at home to Porto on 24 August.

• That defeat ended Benfica's 11-match winning run in the league; they have won 21 of their last 22 matches in the competition, most recently Friday's 4-1 success at Boavista.

• Benfica have scored 63 goals in their last 20 league matches.

• The Lisbon club have kept nine clean sheets in the league this season, including seven in their last ten matches.

• Carlos Vinícius has scored eight goals in his last seven league matches, including two in both a 4-0 victory against Marítimo on 30 November and at Boavista.

• Pizzi had provided a goal and an assist in three successive Liga games before only getting an assist in the win at Boavista. He now has 15 goals in 22 club appearances in all competitions this season and has already matched his goal total from last season.

• On 3 December Benfica drew 1-1 at second tier Covilhã in the Portuguese League Cup group stage, Jota's first senior goal earning a point. Benfica have drawn both games in the 2019/20 competition and have won only two of their last ten League Cup matches (D6 L2).

• André Almeida picked up a muscular injury in his left thigh against Marítimo and had to be replaced at half-time. He has not played since.

• Haris Seferović suffered a calf injury during the warm up for Switzerland's game against Georgia on 15 November, making his return as a second-half substitute at Boavista.

• David Tavares is also sidelined by a thigh problem.

• In late November, Gabriel (2021), Álex Grimaldo (2023) and Rúben Dias (2024) extended their contracts.

• Russian Premier League leaders Zenit have won 14 of their 19 league games this season (D3 L2), and are unbeaten in the last eight (W7 D1). They were 3-0 winners at home to Dinamo Moskva on Friday and have a ten-point lead at the top of the table going into the winter break. 

• Artem Dzyuba is the top scorer in this season's Russian Premier League with 11 goals, including the third against Dinamo at the weekend, and has provided nine assists, more than any other player.

• Sardar Azmoun opened the scoring against Dinamo, his third goal in four league games.

• Zenit beat Tom 4-0 in the Russian Cup last 16 on 30 October and will be at home to Akhmat in the quarter-finals in March.

• Malcom, who has not played since 10 August due to a thigh injury, has undergone surgery and is expected to be sidelined for the rest of the year.

• Emanuel Mammana suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury against Ural on 6 October and is likely to be out for several months.

• Andrei Lunev has been sidelined by a shoulder injury, while Yuri Zhirkov is also out.

• Zenit lost 3-2 to Lokomotiv Moskva in the Russian Super Cup on 6 July.