Galatasaray and Benfica have both moved across from the UEFA Champions League and will be keen to make an immediate impact.
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The only UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie to feature two teams who spent the autumn in the UEFA Champions League, Galatasaray against Benfica is a heavyweight meeting between the most decorated clubs of Turkey and Portugal.
• Both finished third in their UEFA Champions League group, Galatasaray behind Porto and Schalke in Group D, where they picked up four points, and Benfica behind Bayern München and Ajax in Group E having collected seven.
• The clubs have met on three occasions, Galatasaray beating Benfica 2-0 away in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage before both teams won their home fixture 2-1 in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League group stage; Selçuk İnan scored in Istanbul and Jonas did likewise in Lisbon.
• Galatasaray have lost their other two home games against Portuguese visitors, including their most recent European fixture – 2-3 against Porto on matchday six of this season's UEFA Champions League.
• Benfica's record in 15 matches against Turkish opponents is W6 D5 L4, but they have never won in Turkey, where their record is D4 L3. Their last two visits to Istanbul have yielded productive draws – 3-3 against Beşiktaş on matchday five of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League group stage and 1-1 at Fenerbahçe (after a 1-0 home win) in this season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, Gedson Fernandes scoring the goal.
• Turkish champions in 2017/18 for a record 21st time, Galatasaray qualified for a 15th appearance in the UEFA Champions League group stage – the same number as all other Turkish teams combined.
• After opening Group D with an impressive 3-0 home win against Lokomotiv, the Istanbul side picked up only one further point from their last five games. They failed to score in all three away defeats.
• Galatasaray are in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 for the third time. Their previous two ties at this stage both ended in elimination – by eventual winners Atlético Madrid in the inaugural 2009/10 season (1-1 away, 1-2 home) and Lazio in 2015/16 (1-1 home, 1-3 away).
• The win against Lokomotiv ended a run of three successive home 1-1 draws in Europe for Galatasaray, who have nevertheless won only two of their last 12 continental fixtures in Istanbul, losing four. The other victory during that sequence was that 2-1 defeat of Benfica in 2015/16.
• Portuguese Liga runners-up in 2017/18 after a club-record four successive league titles, Benfica kicked off their European season in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League with that 2-1 aggregate win against Fenerbahçe before PAOK were defeated in the play-offs (1-1 home, 4-1 away) to send the Lisbon club into the group stage for the ninth season in a row – and 14th in all.
• Having finished bottom of their group with zero points in 2017/18, the Eagles won home and away against AEK Athens to claim third place in Group E, their only other point coming in a 1-1 draw at home to Ajax.
• Benfica are in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase for the fifth time, their four previous round of 32 ties having all featured victories in both legs – against BATE Borisov in 2009/10 (2-0 home, 2-1 away), Stuttgart in 2010/11 (2-1 home, 2-0 away), Bayer Leverkusen in 2012/13 (1-0 away, 2-1 home) and PAOK in 2013/14 (1-0 home, 3-0 away).
• The Lisbon giants reached the quarter-finals in 2010, the semi-finals in 2011, and back-to-back finals in 2013 and 2014 – which they lost, respectively, to Chelsea (1-2) and Sevilla (0-0, 2-4 on penalties).
• Benfica have been defeated in ten of their last 17 European fixtures (W4 D3), although they have won as many away games as they have lost this season (two apiece). Their overall record on the road in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, is W9 D5 L4, however, with no defeats in their last four fixtures (W3 D1).
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Marcão, Mbaye Diagne, Christian Luyindama
Out: Eren Derdiyok, Maicon, Serdar Aziz, Garry Rodrigues
In: João Félix, Andreas Samaris, Ivan Zlobin
Out: Alfa Semedo, Nicolas Castillo, Facundo Ferreyra, Pedro Amaral, Bruno Varela
Links and trivia
• Galatasaray's Fernando was in the Porto squad that won the UEFA Europa League in 2011. The Brazilian midfielder played 236 matches in all competitions for Porto between 2008 and 2014, scoring six goals, and won four Liga titles, three Portuguese Cups and five domestic Super Cups with the club. He had spent 2007/08 on loan at Estrela da Amadora.
• Sofiane Feghouli (Galatasaray) and Jonas played together at Valencia from 2011–14, the latter having started his career alongside Galatasaray defender Mariano at Brazilian club Guarani.
• Galatasaray's January signing Marcão moved to Portugal in summer 2017, spending the following campaign at Rio Ave. He spent the first half of the current campaign at Chaves.
• Christian Luyindama, Galatasaray's new loan signing from Standard Liège, was an ever-present starter for the Belgian club in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Galatasaray's most recent UEFA Europa League appearance was in last season's second qualifying round, when they lost 3-1 on aggregate to Swedish debutants Östersund. Benfica's last outing in the competition was the 2014 final in Turin against Sevilla.
• Benfica have played more matches in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase than any other club (32). In contrast, they have played just six games in the group stage and none since 2009/10.
• Benfica defeated Nacional 10-0 at home on Sunday, recording their biggest Portuguese Liga win in 55 years. The victory moved them to within one point of league leaders Porto.
• A Turkish coaching legend, 65-year-old Fatih Terim is in his fourth spell at Galatasaray, having rejoined the club in December 2017 after concluding a third stint in charge of the Turkish national side, whom he famously guided to the semi-finals of UEFA EURO 2008. A Galatasaray centre-back for over a decade, winning 51 international caps, he never won the Turkish title as a player but has steered the Istanbul club to seven as a coach, including four in a row in his first spell that concluded with a landmark victory in the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup.
• Bruno Lage was appointed as Benfica coach until the end of the season on 14 January, having previously been in charge of the club's B team then served in an interim capacity following Rui Vitória's dismissal earlier that month. The 42-year-old from Setubal (also José Mourinho's home town) has never previously served as a head coach in the top flight, although he has considerable experience in auxiliary roles. He was Benfica's youth coach from 2004–12 and subsequently worked in English football as the assistant to Carlos Carvalhal at Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea.