Zenit and Benfica each have three wins apiece when they have met in the past and now cross paths again in Group G.
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There has always been a winner when Zenit have played Benfica, and three points in St Petersburg on matchday two would be a welcome boost to either side's Group G prospects.
• While Zenit earned a 1-1 draw at Lyon on matchday one, Benfica slipped to a 2-1 defeat against Leipzig in Lisbon and will not want to lose further ground on the teams above them at this early stage.
• Each side has 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 last 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 one before a 1-0 home success on matchday five. They finished third in the section, with Benfica fourth.
• The matchday one draw at Lyon means Zenit have won only one of their last six European matches (D1 L4). That success, a 3-1 defeat of Fenerbahçe in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg, was their sixth European win in a row in St Petersburg, although they lost their most recent engagement there 3-1 to Villarreal in the last 16 of the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League.
• Zenit have also won 11 of their last 13 home matches in UEFA competition (D1 L1). Their record in St Petersburg in the UEFA Champions League group stage is W7 D8 L3.
• Defeat by Benfica in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League round of 16 – their last home match in the competition – ended Zenit's four-match winning run in St Petersburg in this competition.
• 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.
• 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.
• That 2016 defeat by Benfica is Zenit's only loss at home to Portuguese visitors (W5 D2).
• Defeat by Leipzig on matchday one means Benfica have won only two of their last 14 matches in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final (D1 L11).
• 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).
• Benfica have been defeated in 13 of their last 24 European fixtures.
• Despite victories at PAOK, AEK and Galatasaray last season, Benfica have won only three of their last 13 fixtures outside Portugal (D2 L8).
• Benfica were unbeaten in their first three European matches in Russia (W1 D2) but the 2016 win at Zenit is the sole occasion they have avoided defeat in their last six visits. Their most recent trip, to CSKA Moskva in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League group stage, ended in a 2-0 loss.
• 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.
• The Lisbon giants have reached seven European Cup finals, winning the trophy in 1961 and 1962.
Links and trivia
• Branislav Ivanović headed a late winner for Chelsea against Benfica in the 2013 UEFA Europa League final in Amsterdam.
• 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.
• Summer transfers
In: Douglas Santos (Hamburg), Aleksei Sutormin (Rubin), Aleksandr Vasyutin (Sarpsborg), Malcom (Barcelona), Danil Krugovoi (Ufa), Yordan Osorio (Porto, loan), Vyacheslav Karavaev (Vitesse)
Out: Luís Neto (Sporting), Aleksandr Anyukov (Krylya Sovetov), Yuri Lodygin (Gazişehir Gaziantep), Andrey Panyukov (Ural), Claudio Marchisio (released), Dmitri Poloz (Sochi), Hernani (Parma, loan), Egor Baburin (Rostov), Christian Noboa (Sochi), Anton Zabolotny (Sochi), Luka Djordjević (Lokomotiv), Danil Krugovoi (Ufa, loan), Emiliano Rigoni (Zenit to Sampdoria, loan), Miha Mevlja (Sochi), Denis Terentiev (Ufa, loan)
• Zenit went down 1-0 at Lokomotiv Moskva on Saturday to lose the leadership of the Russian Premier League; three wins in a row, including a 5-0 defeat of Rubin Kazan on 21 September, had taken them top.
• The St Petersburg club have scored nine goals in their last four league matches, conceding only two.
• Artem Dzyuba has five goals and five assists in the league this season.
• Zenit beat Yenisey 2-1 in Krasnoyarsk in the Russian Cup round of 32 on 25 September, and will play host to Tom Tomsk in the next round on 29 October.
• Zenit lost 3-2 to Lokomotiv Moskva in the Russian Super Cup on 6 July.
• Malcom has not played since 10 August due to a thigh injury.
• Sardar Azmoun limped off with an ankle problem at Lyon on matchday one, returning to play 60 minutes at Lokomotiv.
• Sebastián Driussi suffered concussion against Rubin but was fit enough to play 82 minutes on Saturday.
• 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)
• The Eagles have kicked off their defence of the Liga title with six wins in seven 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 15 of their last 16 matches in the competition, beating Vitória FC 1-0 in Lisbon on Saturday, Carlos Vinícius returning from a thigh injury to score the only goal of the game.
• Benfica have scored 46 goals in their last 14 league matches.
• A 2-1 success at Moreirense on 21 September made it 12 consecutive away wins in the league, and 15 victories in Benfica's last 16 away games in the competition.
• Benfica kicked off their Portuguese League Cup campaign with a goalless group stage draw at home to Vitória SC on 25 September, a match that marked Ivan Zlobin's senior debut in goal.
• Benfica captain André Almeida limped off after 78 minutes on Saturday with a thigh injury and will miss the match at Zenit.
• Gabriel was out between 4 August and that game against Vitória SC due a knee injury.
• Midfielder Gedson Fernandes returned to action against Moreirense having recovered from a foot injury suffered in pre-season.
• Chiquinho has been sidelined since the Porto match on 24 August with a thigh problem. Germán Conti (thigh) and Florentino (knee) are both out of action.
• Benfica won the Portuguese Super Cup on 4 August with a 5-0 win against Lisbon rivals Sporting CP.