Benfica are unbeaten in the UEFA Europa League in Lisbon but face a stern test against a buoyant Eintracht Frankfurt.
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Benfica's unbeaten UEFA Europa League record in Lisbon will be put to the test against an exuberant Eintracht Frankfurt, who have enjoyed a fabulous run in the competition and are the last German team standing in Europe this season.
• Benfica crossed over to the UEFA Europa League in the winter having finished third in their UEFA Champions League group, behind Bayern München and Ajax, with seven points. They overcame another autumn UEFA Champions League participant, Galatasaray, in the round of 32 before eliminating Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb after extra time in the round of 16.
• It has been an impressive campaign so far for Eintracht, who have yet to lose a game. They topped Group H with maximum points, winning home and away against Lazio, Apollon Limassol and 2017/18 runners-up Marseille, before knockout phase successes against Shakhtar Donetsk and Internazionale, both of whom, like Benfica, had transferred in mid-season from the UEFA Champions League.
• The clubs have never played each other in UEFA competition.
• Benfica have vast experience against German opposition, their 46 UEFA matches having yielded 13 wins, 14 draws and 19 defeats. They have lost only three of the 22 games played at home (W11 D8), although one of those came earlier this season when they were beaten 2-0 in Lisbon by Bayern München on matchday one of the UEFA Champions League.
• The Lisbon club have prevailed in all three of their previous UEFA Europa League knockout phase ties against Bundesliga opponents – all in the round of 32 against Hertha Berlin (2009/10), Stuttgart (2010/11) and Bayer Leverkusen (2012/13), winning the last five of those matches.
• Eintracht have been paired with Portuguese opponents in UEFA competition just once before – and it ended their only previous UEFA Europa League campaign as they were eliminated on away goals by Porto in the 2013/14 round of 32 (2-2 away, 3-3 home).
• 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 a 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, this time round 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. Galatasaray were overcome 2-1 on aggregate in Benfica's first UEFA Europa League encounters since the 2014 final, a 2-1 win in Istanbul preceding a 0-0 Lisbon draw, before a 3-0 extra-time home win erased a first-leg 0-1 defeat at Dinamo Zagreb in the round of 16.
• Benfica are in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals for a record fifth time. They lost the first of their previous four last-eight ties – against Liverpool in 2009/10 (2-1 home, 1-4 away) – but have won the last three – against PSV Eindhoven in 2010/11 (4-1 home, 2-2 away), Newcastle United in 2012/13 (3-1 home, 1-1 away) and AZ Alkmaar in 2013/14 (1-0 away, 2-1 home). They have therefore won all four home games at this juncture of the competition – despite failing to keep a clean sheet.
• Benfica have never lost at home in any phase of the UEFA Europa League, registering 18 wins and three draws. However, they have not scored more than one goal in normal time of any of their last 14 European games in Lisbon, managing just ten in total.
• A dramatic 2017/18 German Cup final victory over Bundesliga champions Bayern München – 3-1 in Berlin – gave Eintracht their first major silverware in 30 years and secured their first European campaign in five.
• The 1980 UEFA Cup winners opened their Group H campaign with a 2-1 victory in Marseille and secured qualification by beating Lazio (4-1 home) and Apollon (2-0 home, 3-2 away), maintaining their winning streak against Marseille (4-0 home) and Lazio (2-1 away) to finish nine points clear of the Italian club. A 2-2 draw at Shakhtar in the first leg of the round of 32 ended their winning run but a 4-1 victory in the return propelled them for the first time into the UEFA Europa League last 16, where they beat Inter 1-0 in Milan thanks to an early Luka Jović strike – his seventh goal of the competition – after a goalless first leg in Frankfurt.
• Eintracht's only other European participation in the past dozen seasons came in 2013/14, when they successfully negotiated the UEFA Europa League play-offs and group stage, topping their section with 15 points, before going out to Porto in the round of 32.
• Eintracht's overall record in the UEFA Europa League, home and away and including qualifying, is W15 D4 L1, the sole defeat having come at Maccabi Tel-Aviv (2-4) in November 2013. They are now 14 UEFA Europa League matches unbeaten – just one shy of Atlético Madrid's all-time high. Their away record in the competition is W7 D2 L1.
Links and trivia
• Benfica striker Haris Seferović played for Eintracht Frankfurt for three seasons, scoring 16 Bundesliga goals, before moving to Lisbon in 2017.
• Eintracht striker Jović is currently in the second season of a two-year loan from Benfica, having joined the Portuguese club from Crvena zvezda in February 2016.
• Benfica's Andrija Živković and Ljubomir Fejsa are Serbia team-mates of Eintracht trio Jović, Mijat Gaćinović and Filip Kostić.
• Živković and Gaćinović won the FIFA U-20 World Cup together with Serbia in 2015.
• Eintracht's Portuguese striker Gonçalo Paciência is an ex-Porto player who also appeared in his homeland on loan for Académica Coimbra, Rio Ave and Vitória Setúbal.
• Benfica goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos was born in Germany and began his career with hometown club Stuttgart, making his senior debut against Eintracht in August 2015 (1-4). Kostić was a team-mate of his at the club from 2014 to 2016.
• Eintracht's Gelson Fernandes, a Switzerland team-mate of Seferović, played for Benfica's city rivals Sporting CP in 2012/13.
• Benfica have played more matches in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase than any other club (36). They reached the semi-finals in 2011, and successive finals in 2013 and 2014 – which they lost, respectively, to Chelsea in Amsterdam (1-2) and Sevilla in Turin (0-0, 2-4 on penalties). In contrast, they have played just six games in the group stage and none since 2009/10.
• Frankfurt are one of seven teams to have come through the UEFA Europa League group stage undefeated, and one of only three to have retained that status after the round of 16, along with Villarreal and Chelsea.
• Eintracht are one of two clubs appearing in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals for the first time, Slavia Praha being the other.
• The German club are one of four former winners of the trophy in this season's quarter-finals, along with Chelsea, Napoli and Valencia.
• Since the round of 16 Benfica have been eliminated from the Portuguese Cup (on away goals by Sporting in the semi-finals) but remain on top of the Liga, ahead of defending champions Porto on head-to-head record with six games to go.
• Currently fourth in the Bundesliga, Frankfurt have won their last six league matches and have yet to lose in any competition in 2019, their 15 fixtures so far yielding nine wins and six draws.
• Bruno Lage was appointed as Benfica coach on 14 January until the end of the season, 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. On 19 February, he agreed a contract until 2023. The 42-year-old from Setubal (also José Mourinho's home town) had 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.
• Austrian coach Adi Hütter was appointed by Eintracht Frankfurt as the successor to Bayern München-bound Niko Kovač in May 2018, having just led Young Boys to their first Swiss league title in 32 years. A midfielder who spent seven years with Salzburg, he returned to lead the club to a domestic double in 2014/15 after managerial spells at Altach and Grödig. He then crossed the border to spend the next three seasons in Berne.