SL Benfica will look to end a dismal run of results on German soil when they kick off their Group B campaign with a visit to Hertha BSC Berlin, as coach Quique Sánchez Flores looks to shine in UEFA competition again.
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SL Benfica will look to end a dismal run of results on German soil as they kick off their UEFA Cup Group B campaign with a visit to Hertha BSC Berlin, as coach Quique Sánchez Flores looks to shine in UEFA competition again.
• Benfica have played 29 games against German sides over the years, winning seven, drawing ten and losing 12 of them. Their record in 15 games on German soil is hardly inspiring – they have recorded four draws and eleven defeats and are still searching for a first away win against a German team. The aggregate score from those 15 matches is 42-13 in the Bundesliga clubs' favour.
• The Lisbon side are now coached by former Valencia CF, Real Madrid CF and Spain full-back Sánchez Flores. He made his name as a coach in Europe by returning to Valencia and leading the club to the quarter-finals of the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League, but was dismissed in October 2007. He was hired by Benfica in May 2008 as a long-term replacement for another Spaniard, José Antonio Camacho, who quit in March.
• Sánchez Flores has a mixed record against German sides. As a coach, his Valencia side lost 1-0 on aggregate against Hamburger SV in the third round of the 2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup, but were triumphant in last season's UEFA Champions League group stage, winning 1-0 at FC Schalke 04 – one of his last games in charge at the club.
• As a player, he was only involved in one tie against Bundesliga opposition, but it turned out to memorable for the wrong reasons. Sánchez Flores's Valencia met Karlsruher SC in the 1993/94 UEFA Cup second round and despite winning the home fixture 3-1, they were utterly humiliated in the return leg, losing 7-0 – their worst result in European competition.
• This is Benfica and Hertha's first meeting in UEFA club competition.
• Hertha have played four games against Portuguese sides in UEFA club competition, winning one but losing the remaining three 1-0. They lost 1-0 to FC Porto home and away in the second group stage of the 1999/00 UEFA Champions League, and met Boavista FC in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup second round, winning 3-2 at home but losing 1-0 in Portugal to lose out on away goals.
• Hertha earned their place in the UEFA Cup first qualifying round through the UEFA Fair Play draw, and have already played six games in Europe this season. They beat Moldova's FC Nistru Otaci 8-1 on aggregate in the first qualifying round and then knocked out Slovenia's NK IB Ljubljana to take them to the first round proper, where they accounted for the Republic of Ireland's Saint Patrick's Athletic FC.
• Benfica finished a disappointing fourth in Portugal last season but still earned a UEFA Cup first round place, where they overcame SSC Napoli, losing 3-2 in Naples but progressing with a 2-0 win at home.
• Hertha are coached by Lucien Favre, a 24-times capped former Swiss international who played for Lausanne-Sports, Neuchâtel Xamax FC, Servette FC and Toulouse FC but made his name as a coach at FC Zürich, winning back-to-back Swiss titles in 2005/06 and 2006/07 before being lured to Germany.
• Galatasaray AŞ take on Olympiacos CFP in Matchday 1's other Group B game. FC Metalist Kharkhiv are the only side in the section not in action on 23 October.