Eintracht Frankfurt v Benfica background

João Félix's first-leg hat-trick has put Benfica in charge, but Eintracht can still harbour hopes of turning the tie around.

Benfica's João Félix celebrates his first-leg hat-trick
Benfica's João Félix celebrates his first-leg hat-trick ©Getty Images

A pulsating first leg in Lisbon, in which 19-year-old João Félix scored a hat-trick to inspire Benfica to a 4-2 win over an Eintracht Frankfurt side reduced to ten men after 20 minutes, has set up an intriguing return encounter in central Germany.

• It has been an impressive campaign so far for Eintracht, who were undefeated until that first-leg loss in Lisbon. 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.

• 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.

Highlights: Benfica 4-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
Highlights: Benfica 4-2 Eintracht Frankfurt

Previous meetings
• The first UEFA encounter between the clubs proved highly eventful. Eintracht defender Evan N'Dicka was sent off in conceding the 21st-minute penalty with which Félix opened the scoring, and although Luka Jović equalised with his eighth goal of the competition, a second from Félix – who had never previously found the net in Europe – made it 2-1 at half-time. Two further goals shortly after the interval, from Rúben Dias and Félix again, put Benfica in command only for Eintracht's Portuguese substitute, Gonçalo Paciência, to give the German side a foothold back in the tie.

• 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).

• Benfica have vast experience against German opposition, their 47 UEFA matches having yielded 14 wins, 14 draws and 19 defeats. They have won only two of their 24 matches in Germany, though both of those were in the knockout phase of the UEFA Europa League – 2-0 against Stuttgart in 2010/11 and 1-0 at Bayer Leverkusen in 2012/13. The most recent of the 16 defeats came in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage when they lost 5-1 at Bayern München. They were also beaten on German soil by PSV Eindhoven in the 1988 European Cup final, losing on penalties after a 0-0 draw in Stuttgart.

• 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 and Leverkusen, recording victories in the last five of those matches.

Five #UEL quarter-final stunners
Five #UEL quarter-final stunners

Form guide
Eintracht
• 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 Jović strike 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 L2, the sole defeat prior to the one at Benfica having come away to Maccabi Tel-Aviv (2-4) in November 2013. Their home record in the competition is W8 D2, with only Porto and Inter having denied them victory.

• Frankfurt's aggregate record in two-legged UEFA competition ties after losing the first leg away is seven wins from 11, three of them in their 1979/80 UEFA Cup triumph when they overcame Dinamo Bucureşti (0-2 away, 3-0 home) and Bayern München (0-2 away, 5-1 home) before an away-goals triumph in the final against Borussia Mönchengladbach (2-3 away, 1-0 home). They have never previously lost the first away leg 4-2.

João Félix's first-leg hat-trick
João Félix's first-leg hat-trick

Benfica
• 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). Their away record at this juncture of the competition is therefore W1 D2 L1.

• Benfica have been defeated in 11 of their last 22 European fixtures, but the seven wins and four draws have all been this season, during which they have won as many away games as they have lost (three). Their overall record on the road in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, is W10 D5 L5, the round of 16 reverse in Zagreb having ended a five-game unbeaten run (W4 D1).

• There have been 57 occasions when Benfica have claimed a home win in the first leg of a UEFA competition tie, and they have won 48 of them on aggregate, most recently overcoming Fenerbahçe in this season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round (1-0 home, 1-1 away). The last time they failed to preserve their first-leg advantage on the road was on German soil, against Borussia Dortmund in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League round of 16 (1-0 home, 0-4 away).

• Although they have never previously travelled to a second leg holding a 4-2 lead, Benfica have won the first leg in Lisbon by a two-goal margin 14 times, losing only one of those ties – against a team from the former East German town of Frankfurt (an der Oder), Vorwärts, who won the return by the same margin before prevailing on penalties in the 1970/71 European Cup Winners' Cup second round.

Europa League flashback: Eintracht denied in ten-goal thriller
Europa League flashback: Eintracht denied in ten-goal thriller

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 (37). 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.

• 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.

• Unbeaten in 2019 in all competitions until their first-leg loss in Lisbon, Frankfurt immediately succumbed to a second defeat of the year on Sunday as they went down 1-3 at home to Augsburg in the Bundesliga. They remain in fourth place, however, one point above Borussia Mönchengladbach.

• Benfica claimed another 4-2 home win on Sunday, defeating Vitória Setúbal to remain on top of the Portuguese Liga ahead of Porto by virtue of their superior head-to-head record. Both teams have 72 points with five matches remaining.

2011 Europa League flashback: Benfica v PSV
2011 Europa League flashback: Benfica v PSV

Penalty shoot-outs
• Eintracht's record in one UEFA penalty shoot-out is W0 L1:
4-5 v Salzburg, 1993/94 UEFA Cup quarter-final

• 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

The coaches
• 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.

• 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.

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