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Preview: Leverkusen v Benfica

It is too early to speak of must-win games but after failing to get three points in their Group C openers, there is urgency in the Bayer 04 Leverkusen and SL Benfica camps.

Roger Schmidt gathers his players during training on Tuesday morning
Roger Schmidt gathers his players during training on Tuesday morning ©Getty Images

Leverkusen coach warns players about canny Benfica
Roger Schmidt underlines importance of getting first Group C win
Benfica overcame Leverkusen en route to the 2013 UEFA Europa League final
Benfica boss Jorge Jesus says his team are targeting the quarter-finals
With Artur suspended, Júlio César is set to start in goal for the visitors

Possible lineups
Leverkusen: Leno; Hilbert, Toprak, Spahić, Wendell; Reinartz, Bender; Bellarabi, Çalhanoğlu, Son; Kiessling.
Out: Papadopoulos (shoulder), Rolfes (ankle), Brandt (ankle), Castro (muscular problems)
Doubtful: Boenisch (heel)

Benfica: Júlio César; Maxi Pereira, Luisão, Jardel, Eliseu; Samaris; Salvio, Pérez, Gaitán; Talisca, Lima.
Out: Artur (suspended), Sílvio (leg)
Doubtful: Paulo Lopes (right leg)

Roger Schmidt, Leverkusen coach
Benfica have lots of South American players who are very good ball winners and know how to play in these kinds of games. It's no accident that they've been in the Europa League final for the last two seasons.

There are just six matches in the group stage, so we have to start winning as soon as possible. In Monaco, we saw that we can play our football in European games as well as in the Bundesliga, but playing well is not enough – now we have to win.

Against a team like Benfica, who have a lot of excellent counterattacking players, we have to replicate the good defensive work we have done in recent matches. We're doing well in pressing without the ball, and that might decide the match. If we do what we are capable of perfectly, we can win.

Jorge Jesus, Benfica coach
We played Leverkusen in the Europa League a few years ago and they still have six or seven players in the squad from that match. But they have a new coach, who has brought new ideas and they are playing very well in the Bundesliga. It's going to be a tough challenge and we have to be at our best to take three points from Germany. But we have the quality for that.

Benfica training in Leverkusen on Tuesday
Benfica training in Leverkusen on Tuesday©AFP/Getty Images

A second loss would complicate things for us. It is a difficult but fairly even group, and every team can lose once. In the end just four or five teams will be able to win the Champions League. The rest of the teams will be happy to make it through the group stage or qualify for the quarter-finals. This is also our aim.

Weekend results
SC Freiburg 0-0 Leverkusen
Estoril Praia 2-3 Benfica (Diogo Amado 38, Kléber 53; Talisca 3 8, Lima 70)

Form guide (all competitions)
Leverkusen: DWLLDW
Benfica: WWLWDW

Match facts
• What was the result in Leverkusen when the sides met in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League round of 32? Find out in our extensive match background.