Experienced European campaigners Bayer Leverkusen and Porto go head to head for the first time in their fifth last-32 appearance.
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Experienced European campaigners Bayer Leverkusen and Porto go head to head for the first time as each of the clubs makes a fifth appearance in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.
• Leverkusen have crossed over from the UEFA Champions League, where they finished third in Group D behind Juventus and Atlético Madrid on six points. Porto, meanwhile, topped UEFA Europa League Group G, victories in their last two fixtures lifting them to the summit of a tough section featuring Rangers, Young Boys and Feyenoord.
• Leverkusen have hosted Portuguese visitors eight times previously, winning five and losing two. The first encounter provided a sobering 0-1 defeat to Belenenses in the 1988/89 UEFA Cup first round which, with another defeat by the same scoreline in Portugal, ended their defence of the trophy after just one tie.
• The German club have scored three or more goals in six of the other seven home games against Portuguese opposition, winning three of the last four 3-1 including the most recent, against Sporting CP in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League round of 32 (1-0 a).
• Porto have won three of their previous 17 away fixtures in Germany, losing nine, with no victories in the last six (D2 L4). They did, however, win the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League on German soil, defeating Monaco 3-0 in the Gelsenkirchen final, and won their first European Cup against Bundesliga opposition, overcoming Bayern München 2-1 in Vienna in the 1987 final.
• Porto's two previous UEFA Europa League pairings with German clubs both came in the round of 32. The first, in 2013/14, proved successful as they knocked out Eintracht Frankfurt on away goals (2-2 h, 3-3 a); the second, in 2015/16, brought elimination against Borussia Dortmund (0-2 a, 0-1 h).
• Fourth in last season's Bundesliga, Leverkusen thus entered the UEFA Champions League group stage for the 12th time. In Europe they were eliminated from the UEFA Europa League round of 32 on away goals by Krasnodar (0-0 a, 1-1 h) after topping a group featuring Ludogorets, FC Zürich and AEK Larnaca.
• The German club's bid to reach the UEFA Champions League round of 16 was scuppered by defeats in their opening three matches – 1-2 at home to Lokomotiv Moskva, 0-3 at Juventus and 0-1 at Atlético Madrid – and although they rallied to beat Lokomotiv away (2-0) and Atlético at home (2-1), a home defeat by Juve on Matchday 6 (0-2) left them in third place.
•.Leverkusen's record in four previous UEFA Europa League round of 32 ties is W2 L2. They won the first, against Metalist Kharkiv in 2010/11 (4-0 a, 2-0 h), lost the second, against Benfica in 2012/13 (0-1 h, 1-2 a), won the third, in 2015/16 against Sporting, and lost the fourth, last season against Krasnodar.
• The Werkself have drawn seven of their last 15 European home games (W5 L3). In the UEFA Europa League they are unbeaten in six matches at the BayArena (W3 D3), since that 0-1 defeat by Benfica seven years ago, and have an overall home record in the competition, play-offs included, of W9 D5 L2.
• Domestic runners-up in league and cup last season – to Benfica and Sporting respectively – Porto also reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, where they were beaten by eventual winners Liverpool (0-2 a, 1-4 h).
• The Dragons' bid to return to the UEFA Champions League group stage this term – for a record-equalling 24th time – ended in the third qualifying round when they lost on away goals to Krasnodar (1-0 a, 2-3 h). That defeat despatched them directly into the UEFA Europa League group stage, where they had competed just once before – in 2010/11, when they won the trophy – and they survived 0-2 defeats at both Feyenoord and Rangers to finish top of the section with ten points thanks to wins in each of their final two fixtures, 2-1 at Young Boys and 3-2 at home to Feyenoord.
• Since that 2010/11 triumph Porto have played ten matches in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase with the record W2 D3 L5. Their record in round of 32 ties is identical to Leverkusen's, with victory in the first (2-1 a, 0-1 h v Sevilla in 2010/11), defeat in the second (1-2 h, 0-4 a v Manchester City in 2011/12), victory in the third (v Frankfurt in 2013/14), and defeat in the fourth (v Dortmund in 2015/16).
• Porto's 2-1 victory at Young Boys on Matchday 5 ended a winless away run in the UEFA Europa League of eight matches (D2 L6), with defeats in each of the previous four. Their last victory on the road in the knockout phase of either European competition was a 5-2 success at Spartak Moskva in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League quarter-final. Since then their record is D4 L9.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Ayman Azhil, Exequiel Palacios (River Plate), Edmond Tapsoba (Vitória SC)
Out: Joel Pohjanpalo (Hamburg, loan), Panagiotis Retsos (Sheffield United, loan)
In: Vítor Ferreira*
Out: Bruno Costa (Portimonense)
Links and trivia
• Leverkusen's new signing Edmond Tapsoba joined in January from Vitória SC, having played five times for the Guimaraes club in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage. His last goal for Vitória was a penalty against Porto in the semi-final of the Portuguese League Cup on 22 January (1-2). He was also sent off in the first minute of Vitória's 3-0 Liga defeat at the Estádio do Dragão on 1 September 2019.
• Leverkusen's Sven Bender was a member of the Dortmund side that knocked Porto out of the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League round of 32. Karim Bellarabi scored three of the four goals with which Leverkusen eliminated Sporting in the same round of the competition.
• Wendell (Leverkusen) and Alex Telles (Porto) were team-mates at Brazilian club Grêmio, while Charles Aránguiz (Leverkusen) and Otávio (Porto) also played together in Porto Alegre at Grêmio's arch rivals Internacional.
• Leverkusen striker Lucas Alario and Porto goalkeeper Agustín Marchesín are fellow Argentinian internationals. Leverkusen's Kai Havertz scored his first senior goal for Germany past Marchesín in a 2-2 friendly draw in Dortmund on 9 October 2019.
• Porto are one of three clubs to have won the UEFA Europa League on their debut appearance, the others being Atlético Madrid in the inaugural 2009/10 competition and Chelsea in 2012/13. They are also one of three former UEFA Europa League winners in this season's knockout phase, along with Sevilla and Manchester United.
• Porto closed the gap at the top of the Primeira Liga to one point behind long-time leaders Benfica with a 2-1 win at Vitória SC last Sunday. They had beaten their Lisbon rivals 3-2 at home the previous weekend.
• A Dutch champion and three-time domestic cup winner with Feyenoord in the 1990s, Peter Bosz’s eventful coaching career, which began in earnest at De Graafschap in 2002, peaked when he led Ajax to the final of the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League. The former Oranje midfielder spent just that one season in Amsterdam, subsequently replacing Thomas Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund, where his reign lasted only six months. After a year's absence he returned to the Bundesliga to coach Bayer Leverkusen in December 2018 and succeeded in qualifying the Werkself for the UEFA Champions League.
• A Portuguese international winger of some repute who scored 12 goals in 56 appearances for his country including a memorable hat-trick against holders Germany in a 3-0 win at UEFA EURO 2000, Sérgio Conceição played for a variety of clubs, winning Serie A with Lazio and three Portuguese Liga titles in two spells with Porto, where he was appointed as head coach in June 2017, replacing Nuno Espírito Santo following a promising stint in France with Nantes. He led Porto to another league title in 2017/18 and the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals the following season.
UEFA Europa League knockout debut for VAR system
Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will be deployed in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase. The decision was taken by the UEFA Executive Committee last September, following the introduction of the system in several UEFA competitions in the 2018/19 campaign.