VfB Stuttgart host SL Benfica hoping for a performance similar to the last time they welcomed the Lisbon side, who have never won on German soil in 18 attempts.
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VfB Stuttgart host SL Benfica hoping for a performance similar to the last time they welcomed the Lisbon side, with the German club trailing 2-1 from last week's UEFA Europa League round of 32 opener in Lisbon.
• A deft lob from Martin Harnik capped a bright start by the Bundesliga strugglers in Lisbon, but Benfica emerged reinvigorated after the break, equalising through Óscar Cardozo with 20 minutes left before Franco Jara added a deflected second from distance in the closing stages.
• Stuttgart, under Matthias Sammer, met Giovanni Trapattoni's Benfica in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup group stage, winning 3-0 in Germany.
• The teams for that game on 4 November 2004 were:
Stuttgart: Hildebrand, Hinkel, Stranzl, Babbel, Meissner, Hleb (Vranješ 87), Heldt (Tiffert 73), Cacau*, Soldo, Lahm, Kuranyi (Szabics, 77).
Benfica: Moreira*, Amoreirinha, Luisão*, Paulo Almeida, Geovanni, Dos Santos, Simão, Nuno Gomes* (Bruno Aguiar 65), Ricardo Rocha (Fucks 42), Manuel Fernandes, João Pereira (Karadas 55).
*still with the club
• Aside from playing Benfica, Stuttgart's only experience of Portuguese opponents came in the 1973/74 UEFA Cup, where they beat Vitória FC 3-2 on aggregate in the quarter-finals before losing to Feyenoord in the semis.
• Stuttgart are unbeaten in seven home games (four wins and three draws) since a 3-1 loss to Sevilla FC in last season's UEFA Champions League group stage. They triumphed in all three of their UEFA Europa League group stage home fixtures in the autumn.
• Benfica's 35 games against German opponents have ended W9 D12 L14 (W0 D6 L12 in Germany). They are yet to win in 18 games on German soil, but come to Stuttgart having drawn on three of their last four visits.
• Benfica's second goal against Stuttgart last week was their 550th in UEFA club competition; this will be their 329th European game. Benfica's next defeat will be their 100th in UEFA club competition.
• Benfica were on a nine-game unbeaten run at home (eight wins and one draw) when they lost 2-1 to FC Schalke 04 in their final UEFA Champions League group stage game of 2010. They are thus playing German opposition for the third game in succession.
• Benfica have lost their last four European away games by margins of at least two goals, and have not scored on their continental travels this season. That run of results includes a 2-0 defeat by Stuttgart's Bundesliga rivals FC Schalke 04 in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Stuttgart's Arthur Boka was responsible for five assists since the start of the UEFA Europa League group stage, leaving him as the joint-top supplier along with FC Dynamo Kyiv's Roman Eremenko.
• Bruno Labbadia kicked off his European reign at Stuttgart with a 5-1 win against Odense BK in their final UEFA Europa League game of 2010. Labbadia led Hamburger SV to the semi-finals last season, but was dismissed following their 0-0 first-leg home draw against Fulham FC.
• Labbadia is on a nine-game unbeaten run as a home coach in Europe since his Hamburg side lost 1-0 to Randers FC in his first UEFA club competition home fixture.
• Benfica coach Jorge Jesus has coached in eight matches against German sides with CF Os Belenenses and SC Braga as well as Benfica, with the record W2 D1 L5 (W0 D1 L2 in Germany).
• His only positive results against German sides prior to the first leg came when his Benfica team eliminated Hertha BSC Berlin at this stage of last season's UEFA Europa League, drawing 1-1 at the Olympiastadion and prevailing 4-0 at home.
• The overall winners will take on the victors in the tie between FC BATE Borisov and Paris Saint-Germain FC in the round of 16 on 10 and 17 March, playing the first leg at home.