Leipzig v Benfica facts
RB Leipzig have won three of their four Group G games to put themselves within touching distance of reaching the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds for the first time, while Benfica’s own hopes are in the balance on Matchday 5.
• On Matchday 1 a Timo Werner double helped Leipzig to a 2-1 success in Lisbon despite Haris Seferović’s late response for the home side.
• Leipzig have added two wins and a defeat to that result and head the standings on nine points, two above Lyon with Zenit third on four points and Benfica fourth on three.
• Leipzig will be through if they avoid defeat against Benfica and will clinch first place if they win and Lyon do not. Benfica, meanwhile, will be unable to finish in the top two if they do not beat Leipzig.
• Although Matchday 1 was the teams’ first competitive contest, they met in a summer 2017 friendly, Leipzig winning 2-0 in London with Marcel Halstenberg scoring one of the goals.
• After beating Benfica on Matchday 1 Leipzig went down 2-0 at home to Lyon, although they bounced back to defeat Zenit home (2-1) and away (2-0) to make it five wins in their ten UEFA Champions League fixtures.
• Third in the Bundesliga last season and German Cup finalists, this is Leipzig’s third European campaign, and only their 29th match. In 2017/18 they became the first team to make their European debut in the UEFA Champions League group stage, when they picked up seven points to finish third in a section including Beşiktaş, Porto and Monaco. They went on to reach the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals before losing to Marseille.
• Leipzig’s first European home game was a 1-1 draw against Monaco on Matchday 1 two years ago; also at home in that season’s group stage, they beat Porto 3-2 in their only other game against a Portuguese club in Germany, but lost 2-1 to Beşiktaş.
• Matchday 1 made it two wins and a defeat in Leipzig’s three matches against Portuguese clubs, with six goals scored and the same number conceded.
• In 2018/19 the German club came through three qualifying rounds to reach the UEFA Europa League group stage, but finished behind Salzburg and Celtic to drop out of the competition, collecting seven points from their six games.
• Leipzig have won eight of their 14 home European matches (D2 L4), although only two of the last five (D1 L2).
• Despite beating Lyon 2-1 on Matchday 3, the defeats at home by Leipzig and at Zenit and Lyon (both 1-3) mean Benfica have won only three of their last 17 matches in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final (D1 L13).
• In 2018/19 Benfica finished third behind Bayern München and Ajax in Group E, moving into the UEFA Europa League having picked up seven points. They went on to beat Galatasaray (2-1 aggregate) and Dinamo Zagreb (3-1 aggregate) only to succumb to Eintracht Frankfurt on away goals in the quarter-finals (4-2 h, 0-2 a).
• Benfica have been defeated in 15 of their last 27 European fixtures.
• Despite victories at PAOK, AEK and Galatasaray last season, Benfica have won only three of their last 15 fixtures outside Portugal (D2 L10).
• Last season’s defeat at Eintracht made it five successive losses in Germany for Benfica, who have conceded 15 goals in that run, scoring only two. They have won only two of their 25 away fixtures in Germany, suffering 17 defeats, and 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.
• Champions of Portugal for a record 37th time last season, Benfica are in the group stage for the 15th time, although only five of those previous 14 campaigns have extended into the last 16; they also reached the quarter-finals direct in 1994/95.
• The Lisbon giants have reached seven European Cup finals, winning the trophy in 1961 and 1962.
Links and trivia
• Benfica goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos was born in Germany and began his career with hometown club Stuttgart. He was an unused squad member in Germany’s 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship victory.
• Benfica striker Seferović played for Eintracht Frankfurt for three seasons, scoring 16 Bundesliga goals, before moving to Lisbon in 2017. He was in the team that lost 3-0 to Leipzig in January 2017, Werner scoring the second goal, while Marcel Sabitzer and Yussuf Poulsen were on target in a 2-2 draw between Leipzig and Eintracht that May.
• Emil Forsberg scored the only goal as Sweden won 1-0 win against a Switzerland side for whom Seferović came on as a second-half substitute in the 2018 FIFA World Cup round of 16.
• Hannes Wolf was in the Salzburg team that beat Benfica 2-1 to win the 2017 UEFA Youth League final; Rúben Dias, Florentino Luís, Gedson Fernandes and Jota featured for the Portuguese side.