Schalke make their group stage return against a Porto side with plenty of recent success in the competition.
Article top media content
Memories of a titanic UEFA Champions League knockout tussle will be stirred by Schalke's home game against Porto in the opening round of Group D fixtures.
• It took penalties to separate the sides the last time they met, in the 2007/08 round of 16. Both have plenty of recent experience of reaching that stage, and will be eager to make early inroads in a section that also includes Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moskva.
• It was Schalke who came out on top in the penalty shoot-out 11 seasons ago, after Kevin Kuranyi's fourth-minute first-leg goal in Gelsenkirchen had been cancelled out by Lisandro López with only four minutes to play in Porto. The German side held their nerve in the shoot-out, however, converting all of their kicks to win 4-1.
• The German club had also had the better of the sides' other tie, in the 1976/77 UEFA Cup first round, even after letting slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 in the away first leg. Schalke progressed with a 3-2 home victory, scoring twice in the last four minutes to secure the win.
• Bundesliga runners-up in 2017/18 – their highest league placing since 2009/10 – this is Schalke's first UEFA Champions League group campaign since 2014/15, their third successive appearance.
• Semi-finalists in 2011, Schalke's last three UEFA Champions League campaigns have all ended in the round of 16.
• Schalke have lost their last two home matches in the competition, and won only one of their last five UEFA Champions League games in Gelsenkirchen (D1 L3).
• Schalke are, however, unbeaten in six home European fixtures (W4 D2).
• The German club did not take part in European competition last season, having reached the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals in 2016/17, where they lost to eventual runners-up Ajax.
• Schalke have won all five previous fixtures against Portuguese visitors, including UEFA Champions League group stage wins against Benfica in 2010/11 and Sporting CP in their last appearance in 2014/15.
• This trip will hold happy memories for Porto; Gelsenkirchen, and the Arena AufSchalke, was the venue for their second European Cup triumph, José Mourinho's side beating Monaco 3-0 there in the 2004 final.
• Porto are in the UEFA Champions League for the 23rd season – the joint highest total ever alongside Real Madrid and Barcelona.
• Porto have reached the round of 16 in the last two years, and have qualified from the group three times in the last four seasons. In 2017/18 they lost 5-0 on aggregate to eventual runners-up Liverpool in the last 16 having been beaten at home by the same scoreline in the first leg.
• The Portuguese side were also paired with German opponents in last season's group stage, beating RB Leipzig 3-1 at home having lost 3-2 away. The latter defeat was their third in a row away to Bundesliga clubs.
• Porto have won only one of their last six away European games (D3 L2), a 3-0 victory at Monaco in last season's group stage. They have drawn the last two away.
Links and trivia
• Porto coach Sérgio Conceição was in charge of Nantes for the second half of 2016/17, Amine Harit making 18 appearances during his reign and scoring once. Current Porto midfielder Sérgio Oliveira was at Nantes for the second half of the campaign.
• Breel Embolo was in the Basel side that drew 1-1 at home and lost 4-0 away against Porto in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League round of 16. Óliver Torres, Héctor Herrera, Yacine Brahimi and Vincent Aboubakar also featured for Porto.
• Herrera was in the Mexico team that beat Germany 1-0 in this summer's FIFA World Cup. Schalke's Sebastian Rudy was an unused substitute in that match, but had started Germany's 4-1 win over Herrera's Mexico in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup semi-final.
• International team-mates:
Nabil Bentaleb & Yacine Brahimi (Algeria)
• Has played in Germany:
Riechedly Bazoer (Wolfsburg, 2017–18)
• Have played together:
Riechedly Bazoer & Daniel Caligiuri (Wolfsburg 2017)
• Summer transfers
In: Suat Serdar (Mainz), Salif Sané (Hannover), Steven Skrzybski (Union Berlin), Mark Uth (Hoffenheim), Omar Mascarell (Real Madrid), Sebastian Rudy (Bayern)
Out: Leon Goretzka (Bayern), Max Meyer (Crystal Palace), Pablo Insua (Huesca, loan), Coke (Levante), Benedikt Höwedes (Lokomotiv Moskva), Thilo Kehrer (Paris)
• Having won 2-0 at fourth division Schweinfurt 05 in the German Cup first round on 17 August, Schalke will play 2. Bundesliga side Köln at the end of October.
• Schalke have lost all three games of the new Bundesliga season, 2-1 at Wolfsburg and 2-0 at home against Hertha – ending each with ten men after Matija Nastasić and Yevhen Konoplyanka respectively were sent off – before Saturday's 2-1 reverse at Borussia Mönchengladbach.
• This is the first time Schalke have lost three Bundesliga games in a row since suffering five successive defeats at the start of 2016/17.
• Konoplyanka scored as Ukraine won 2-1 in the Czech Republic on the opening night of the UEFA Nations League on 6 September.
• Cedric Teuchert scored a hat-trick in Germany's 6-0 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying win in the Republic of Ireland on 11 September, Suat Serdar getting two goals.
• Bastian Oczipca has been out since July due to groin surgery, while Benjamin Stambouli suffered an ankle injury in training on 20 August and is expected to be sidelined for more than two months.*
• Summer transfers
In: João Pedro (Palmeiras)*, Chancel Mbemba (Newcastle United)*, Marius Mouandilmadji (Cotonsport)*, Éder Militão (São Paulo), Jorge (Monaco, loan), Riechedly Bazoer (Wolfsburg, loan)
Out: Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City), Iván Marcano (Roma), Diogo Dalot (Man. United), Miguel Layún (Villarreal), Gonçalo Paciência (Eintracht Frankfurt), José Sá (Olympiacos, loan)
*Not in UEFA Champions League squad
• Porto kicked off 2018/19 with a 3-1 win against Portuguese Cup holders Aves in the domestic Super Cup on 4 August.
• Vincent Aboubakar scored his first Porto goals since February in a 5-0 win against Chaves on 11 August, substitute Marius Mouandilmadji marking his debut with a goal.
• Porto suffered a first home Liga defeat in 36 matches on 25 August, going down 3-2 against Vitória SC. Having led 2-0, it was the first time they had lost at home in the league having been two goals up since 1942/43.
• Portugal international Danilo had been out since 2 April due to an Achilles tendon injury that also ruled him out of this summer's FIFA World Cup – he returned as a late substitute in Porto's 3-0 win over Moreirense on 2 September.
• Aboubakar returned from international duty with Cameroon with an injured left knee, although he came on as a late substitute in Friday's 1-1 draw against Chaves in the Portuguese League Cup group stage. André Pereira missed that game and is struggling for fitness.
• Francisco Soares (adductor) and Mbemba (knee) were left out of Porto's UEFA Champions League squad due to long-term injuries.
• Sérgio Oliveira made his Portugal debut as a late substitute in the 1-1 friendly draw with Croatia on 6 September. Éder Militão and Felipe earned first Brazil caps in a 5-0 defeat of El Salvador five days later.
• Moussa Marega (Mali) and Chidozie Awaziem (Nigeria) both scored on international duty in early September.
• André Pereira, Marega and and Sérgio Oliveira have all recently signed contracts keeping them at Porto until 2021.