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Women's Champions League preview: Lyon vs Benfica

Lyon started with a win while Benfica held Bayern to a surprise draw.

Lyon scored the first-ever group goal via Melvine Malard
Lyon scored the first-ever group goal via Melvine Malard TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images

Lyon, the most successful side in UEFA Women's Champions League history, will aim to continue their winning start to the inaugural group stage when they host Benfica, the first club from Portugal to reach the last 16.

• Sonia Bompastor's OL secured a comfortable Matchday 1 victory against Swedish champions Häcken in Gothenburg, Melvine Malard (10) rifling home the first group stage goal. Catarina Macario (48) and a Stine Larsen own goal (53) snuffed out the possibility of any comeback by their Damallsvenskan opponents.

• Benfica, who scooped their first ever Campeonato Nacional Feminino championship last term, held last season's semi-finalists Bayern to a goalless draw on Matchday 1. Eagles goalkeeper Letícia was in fine form, denying Lea Schüller on a number of occasions.

Ones to watch: Lyon

Wendie Renard
• The 31-year-old missed the Matchday 1 success against Häcken due to a minor injury sustained whilst on international duty.

• The French international has made 95 UEFA Women's Champions League appearances, more than any other player.

• The centre-back, who has been with Lyon since 2006, celebrated her 400th appearance for the club on 12 September with a 6-0 victory against Dijon.

• Renard is one of three players to have collected a winners' medal in all seven of Lyon's triumphs in this competition, along with Sarah Bouhaddi and Eugénie Le Sommer.

Ada Hegerberg
• The 26-year-old marked her comeback from serious injury as a 78th-minute substitute in the Matchday 1 victory in Gothenburg, her first appearance for 625 days due to an ruptured cruciate ligament and a stress fracture in her left tibia.

• Hegerberg has scored more goals in this tournament than any other player (53), overtaking Anja Mittag's previous landmark of 51 in October 2019 with a double in the 7-0 round of 16 second-leg home victory against Fortuna Hjørring.

• The forward has scored in each of her last five UEFA Women’s Champions League starts, 12 goal in total including a hat-trick in the 2019 final triumph against Barcelona. She was only the second player to score three times in a final match, after Duisburg's Inka Grings ten years earlier.

• The former Norwegian international, who extended her stay with the club during her injury lay-off through to 2024, has been the top scorer in two previous UEFA Women's Champions League campaigns, including a record 15 back in 2017/18.

Melvine Malard
• The 21-year-old scored the historic first goal in the inaugural UEFA Women's Champions League group stage, ten minutes into the Matchday 1 victory against Häcken on 5 October.

• The forward has scored six goals in her last nine UEFA Women's Champions League appearances, including in four successive matches between December 2020 and March 2021.

• Malard is a product of Lyon's youth set-up and was the leading scorer as France won the UEFA Women's European Under-19 Championship in Scotland in 2019.

• She made her senior Les Bleues debut in September 2020, and has feature four more times since.

Ones to watch: Benfica

Lucia Alves
• The 23-year-old was named Player of the Match in the Matchday 1 encounter with Bayern.

• The defender, who is in her third season with Benfica, spent the first half of 2020/21 on loan at former club Valadares Gaia before returning to As Águias in January.

• The versatile player was converted from a forward into a full-back during the latter stages of last season.

• She extended her contract with the Eagles until 2024 in May.

Cloé Lacasse
• The 28-year-old came closest to breaking the deadlock for the Eagles in their 0-0 Matchday 1 draw against Bayern on 5 October.

• Her hat-trick against Dutch champions Twente ensured the Eagles would be the first ever Portuguese representatives to make the last 16 of this competition.

• Lacasse's 16 strikes last term were integral to Benfica's maiden Campeonato Nacional Feminino triumph, a tally that included a four-goal haul in the 7-0 win against Torreense on 17 January.

• The Canadian-born striker is in her third campaign with Benfica, having previous played for ÍBV, with whom she won the 2017 Icelandic Cup, scoring the opener in the 3-2 extra-time victory against Stjarnan in the final.

• The 27-year-old was integral to the clean sheet in Benfica's group opener, making seven saves in the goalless draw against Bayern.

• The goalkeeper conceded just four goals in her 12 league appearances last term to help Benfica clinch their first Campeonato Nacional Feminino title.

• Leticia joined As Águias in January 2021 from Corinthians in her native Brazil. She won two Copa Libertadores Femenina titles with her former club, saving two penalties in the shoot-out victory against Colo-Colo in 2017.

• The Brazilian international made one appearance as the Seleção won the 2018 Copa América Femenina and has also been an unused squad member at two FIFA World Cups and the 2020 Olympic Games.

Key stats

• Lyon have lost just one of their last 35 UEFA Women's Champions League matches.

• OL have won 13 of their last 14 home games in the competition.

• Lyon have won their eight competitive matches this season, triumphing by a margin of three or more goals in each of the last four.

• The French club have scored in 27 successive UEFA Women's Champions League matches, since a 0-0 draw against Manchester City in April 2018.

• Catarina Macario has scored six goals in Lyon's last six competitive matches.

• Benfica have lost only two of their previous nine UEFA Women's Champions League matches (W5 D2).

• The Eagles are unbeaten in their five UEFA Women's Champions League matches this season (W3 D2), keeping four clean sheets.