Benfica, unbeaten at home in this competition, bid to reach the last 16 at the expense of a Shakhtar Donetsk side who won an eventful first leg 2-1 in Kharkiv.
The only round of 32 tie between teams that competed in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage is intriguingly poised as Benfica, unbeaten at home in the UEFA Europa League, bid to reach the last 16 at the expense of a Shakhtar Donetsk side who won an eventful first leg 2-1 in Kharkiv.
• Benfica's chances of further UEFA Champions League progress ended with a 2-2 draw at RB Leipzig on Matchday 5 but they rallied to beat Zenit 3-0 in Lisbon and secure third place, whereas Shakhtar's hopes of prolonging their UEFA Champions League campaign into the spring were dashed by a closing 0-3 home defeat by Atalanta. The Ukrainian side ended up with six points, one fewer than their Italian opponents.
• After a goalless first half in Kharkiv, Shakhtar went ahead thanks to a spectacular Alan Patrick strike, only for the visitors to equalise through a Pizzi penalty ten minutes later. The final word, however, went to the Ukrainian side as Viktor Kovalenko fired in to inflict a first ever round of 32 defeat on Benfica at the 11th time of asking.
• The clubs' only previous pairing was in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League group stage, when both claimed away wins, Shakhtar 1-0 in Lisbon and Benfica 2-1 in Donetsk, with current Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov playing in both games. Neither club made it through to the knockout phase, Benfica finishing third and Shakhtar fourth behind AC Milan and Celtic.
• Benfica have won four and lost two of their six UEFA competition home games against Ukrainian clubs, the four victories all featuring clean sheets, the latest 1-0 against Dynamo Kyiv in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League group stage. The Lisbon giants have won all three of their two-legged knockout ties against teams from Ukraine.
• Shakhtar have an impressive track record in Portugal, winning five of their nine matches in the country (D1 L3), including the two most recent, both against Braga in the UEFA Europa League – 2-1 in the 2015/16 quarter-final and 4-2 in the following season's group stage, with Serhiy Kryvtsov and Taison each scoring a double in the latter fixture. Their record in two-legged knockout ties against Portuguese opponents is W2 L1.
• Champions of Portugal for a record 37th time last season, Benfica thus qualified for a tenth successive appearance in the UEFA Champions League group stage – and 15th in all. They finished third in their section last season, going on to reach the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, where they were eliminated on away goals by Eintracht Frankfurt (4-2 h, 0-2 a).
• Benfica lost their opening two fixtures in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage – 1-2 at home to RB Leipzig, 1-3 at Zenit – before trading home wins with Lyon and then conceding twice late on at Leipzig to draw 2-2 and drop out of the competition.
• Three second-half goals without reply against Zenit on Matchday 6 put Benfica back in the UEFA Europa League, where they will be hoping to protect a perfect record in the round of 32, all of their previous five ties at this stage having ended in victory – against Hertha Berlin in 2009/10 (1-1 a, 4-0 h), VfB Stuttgart in 2010/11 (2-1 h, 2-0 a), Bayer Leverkusen in 2012/13 (1-0 a, 2-1 h), PAOK in 2013/14 (1-0 a, 3-0 h) and Galatasaray in 2018/19 (2-1 a, 0-0 h). They boast four wins and one draw at home in this round.
• The Eagles are unbeaten at home in the UEFA Europa League – a run of 22 matches, qualifying included, that includes 19 victories. Their knockout phase record in Lisbon is W15 D3.
• Benfica have lost the first leg away from home 35 times in UEFA competition and have recovered to win the tie on 12 occasions, most recently in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 16, when they prevailed 3-0 in Lisbon after extra time against Dinamo Zagreb having lost the first leg 1-0 in Croatia. The last time they lost 2-1 away in the first leg was against Paris Saint-Germain in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup, when they won the return 3-1 in Lisbon, making their overall qualifying record after losing 2-1 in the first away leg W2 D2.
• Shakhtar won the Ukrainian league last season, claiming the title for the 12th time and also completing a domestic double for the third season in a row, which gave them a third successive appearance in the UEFA Champions League group stage – and 14th in all.
• The Pitmen picked up only one win in the group stage, 2-1 at Atalanta with an added-time winner on Matchday 2. They then drew three games in succession, two against Dinamo Zagreb (2-2 h, 3-3 a) and the third, 1-1, away to a Manchester City side who had beaten them 3-0 in Kharkiv on Matchday 1. They ended the section exactly as they finished it with that decisive defeat by Atalanta to book a fourth UEFA Europa League round of 32 berth in five seasons.
• The 2008/09 UEFA Cup winners have been successful in only one of their previous five UEFA Europa League round of 32 ties, overcoming Schalke 3-0 on aggregate (0-0 h, 3-0 a) in 2015/16, when they went all the way to the semi-finals. The defeats have come against Fulham in 2009/10 (1-2 a, 1-1 h), Viktoria Plzeň in 2013/14 (1-1 a, 1-2 h), Celta Vigo in 2016/17 (1-0 a, 0-2 h) and Eintracht Frankfurt in 2018/19 (2-2 h, 1-4 a).
• The Donetsk club have won twice on the road in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 and have a positive balance away from home in the competition's knockout phase of W4 D1 L3. Their away record in the competition overall, qualifying included, is an even more impressive W11 D1 L4.
• Shakhtar have won 15 of the 20 UEFA competition ties in which they were victorious in the home first leg, although they have lost the last two, most recently going out on away goals against Roma in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League round of 16 (2-1 h, 0-1 a). When winning 2-1 at home in the first leg, Shakhtar's aggregate record is W1 L2, the sole success coming against Birkirkara in the first qualifying round of the 1998/99 UEFA Cup (4-0 a).
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Dyego Sousa (Shenzhen, loan), Morato, Julian Weigl (Dortmund)
Out: Celton Biai (Vitória), Gedson Fernandes (Tottenham, loan), Germán Conti, Raúl de Tomás (Espanyol), Ljubomir Fejsa (Alavés, loan), Caio (Sharjah, loan), Nuno Santos
In: Artem Bondarenko, Fernando, Maycon, Oleksandr Pikhalonok
Out: Andriy Boryachuk (Rizespor), Bogdan Butko, Andrii Totovytskyi (Desna Chernihiv), Vitão
Links and trivia
• Shakhtar are led by a Portuguese coach, Luís Castro, whose record in domestic competition against Benfica is W3 D1 L11. Those matches include two 0-1 home defeats in four days in January 2019 as Vitória SC coach; they were opposite number Bruno Lage's first two matches after he had been confirmed as Benfica's head coach.
• Luís Castro and Bruno Lage are two of eight Portuguese head coaches on duty in this season's UEFA Europa League round of 32. The others are Nuno Espírito Santo (Wolves), Emanuel Ferro (Sporting), Sérgio Conceição (Porto), Pedro Martins (Olympiacos), Paulo Fonseca (Roma) and Micael Sequeira (Braga).
• Shakhtar's Brazilian left-back Ismaily played in Portugal from 2009 to 2013 for Estoril, Olhanense and Braga; he was never on the winning side against Benfica (D3 L5). Among Ismaily's team-mates at the first two clubs was current Benfica captain Jardel.
• Shakhtar right-back Dodô spent 2018/19 in Portugal on loan at Vitória SC.
• Júnior Moraes made his debut for the Ukrainian national team in a UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier against Portugal at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on 22 March 2019. The match ended 0-0.
• This is Benfica's 40th match in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase – a competition high, five more than any other club. They have reached at least the quarter-finals in all of their five previous participations in the competition.
• Benfica's transfer to the UEFA Europa League means that Portugal has retained a four-team complement in the competition, with Vitória SC having been eliminated at the end of the group stage and Porto, Braga and Sporting CP all going through. The next best represented nations are England, Germany and Spain, who all have three teams in the round of 32.
• Benfica's record in four UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L2:
4-1 v Torpedo Moskva, 1977/78 European Champion Clubs' Cup first round
5-6 v PSV Eindhoven, 1987/88 European Champion Clubs' Cup final
4-1 v PAOK, 1999/2000 UEFA Cup second round
2-4 v Sevilla, 2013/14 UEFA Europa League final
• Shakhtar's record in two UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W0 L2:
1-4 v Club Brugge, 2002/03 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
2-4 v Young Boys, 2016/17 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
• Bruno Lage was appointed as Benfica coach on 14 January 2019, initially 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. He later agreed a contract until 2023 and led the Eagles to the 2018/19 Liga title with 18 wins and one draw in his 19 matches. The 43-year-old from Setubal 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.
• Appointed Shakhtar Donetsk head coach in June 2019, Luís Castro replaced his compatriot Paulo Fonseca – a move he had also previously made back in 2014 when he stepped in as an interim replacement for the current Roma boss at Porto. A right-back, he spent most of his 17-year playing career in the lower leagues, and he also made a relatively discreet start in coaching before joining top-flight Penafiel in 2004. He was on Porto's coaching staff for a decade (2006–16) before spending one season apiece as the head coach of Rio Ave, Chaves and Vitória SC.