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Women's Champions League preview: Benfica vs Häcken

A crucial game for both teams in Group D as they chase Lyon and Bayern.

Benfica held Bayern but lost to Lyon in October
Benfica held Bayern but lost to Lyon in October Icon Sport via Getty Images

The two Group D clubs still awaiting their first UEFA Women's Champions League group goal meet in Lisbon as Benfica take on Häcken.

• Both teams come off the back of heavy Matchday 2 defeats, Benfica going down 5-0 away to seven-time winners Lyon and Häcken losing 4-0 at a Lea Schüller-inspired Bayern.

• The visitors, who are under new management with Robert Vilahamn taking the helm following the departure of Mats Gren on 22 October, are one of five sides to lose their opening two group matches, with only Servette (eight) shipping more than the seven goals conceded by the Damallsvenskan outfit.

Ones to watch: Benfica

Carole Costa
• The 31-year-old is the only outfield player to play every minute of Benfica's six matches in this season's competition, including qualifying.

• The defender joined As Águias in 2020 after three years with city rivals Sporting, with whom she clinched a league and cup double in 2017/18.

• Costa spent seven years plying her trade in Germany, beginning with a move to Essen from Leixões in 2010, before turning out for FCR 2001 Duisburg, MSV Duisburg and BV Cloppenburg.

• The Portuguese international has won 130 senior caps for A Selecção, including representing her country at the 2017 UEFA Women's EURO.

Cloé Lacasse
• The 28-year-old has been Benfica's most likely goal threat in this group stage so far, having half of her side's six attempts on target.

• The forward's hat-trick against Dutch champions Twente ensured the Eagles would be the first Portuguese representatives to make the last 16 of this competition for the first time in any guise.

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

• In 2019, the Canadian-born striker was granted Icelandic citizenship after spending four years plying her footballing trade in the country.

• The 27-year-old has made 17 saves in this season's group stage so far, fewer only than Breidablik's Telma Ívarsdóttir (18).

• The goalkeeper was integral to thwarting last season's semi-finalists Bayern in the Matchday 1 goalless draw.

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

• The Brazilian international joined As Águias in January 2021 from Corinthians in her native Brazil, with whom she scooped two Copa Libertadores Femenina titles, including two spot-kick saves in the penalty shoot-out victory against Colo-Colo in the 2017 edition.

Ones to watch: Häcken

Stina Blackstenius
• The 25-year-old striker netted her third league hat-trick of the term with her treble in the 4-0 home victory against Djurgården on 31 October, taking her Damallsvenskan tally to 17 for the season. She finished the campaign as the division's top scorer.

• The forward, who scored nine more league goals this term than she managed in 2020, was denied a first-half equaliser by some brave Christiane Endler goalkeeping in the Matchday 1 loss to Lyon.

• She began her top-flight career with Linköpings, lifting the Damallsvenskan trophy in 2016 along with two Svenska Cupens, having joined from lower-league Vadstena GIF in 2013.

• The Swedish international spent two years in France with Montpellier (2017–19), where she finished as runners-up in Division 1 Féminine behind Lyon in her first campaign with La Paillade. She returned for a second spell with Linköpings in 2019, before joining Häcken in 2020.

Filippa Curmark
• The 26-year-old has attempted eight tackles across the two group stage matches so far – only Servette's Amandine Soulard (16) has made more.

• The midfielder has been with the club since 2015, joining from Jitex following their relegation from the Swedish top flight in 2014, having started out with IFK Kalmar.

• Curmark was the only player to start all of Häcken's 22 league matches this year.

• The Swedish international scored on her senior debut for the national side, in the 7-0 UEFA Women's EURO 2022 qualifying win against Latvia in October 2020.

Johanna Rytting Kaneryd
• A midfielder who can also play at wing-back, she scored Häcken's final goal in qualifying ahead of this inaugural group stage, in the 3-2 home win against Vålerenga in the Round 2 qualifying second leg on 8 September.

• She spent 3 seasons with Rosengård but missed the entire 2018 campaign with a knee ligament injury sustained shortly after signing for the club from Djurgårdens IF.

• As a 17-year-old, she was an unused substitute for Tyresö FF – her first club – in their 4-3 UEFA Women's Champions League final defeat against Wolfsburg in Lisbon in May 2014.

• Capped at various youth levels by Sweden, she made her senior international debut earlier this year.

Key stats

• Benfica are unbeaten in their previous two home UEFA Women's Champions League matches this season (W1 D1); they did not concede in either game.

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

• Häcken and Benfica are two of the six teams who failed to score in the first two group games.