Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moskva will both know the importance of a positive start as they meet for the first time in the opening round of matches in UEFA Champions League Group D.

• This is only the German club’s second group campaign in four seasons, while Lokomotiv are making their second successive appearance having ended a 14-year absence last season – and with Juventus and Atlético Madrid also in the section, three points in Germany would be a major boost for either side.

Form guide
• Fourth in last season’s Bundesliga, 2002 runners-up Leverkusen are in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the 12th time, and the first since 2016/17. They have reached the last 16 or better in seven of their last eight campaigns, most recently reaching the 2016/17 round of 16 where they lost to Atlético Madrid (2-4 h, 0-0 a).

UEL flashback: Watch Leverkusen win on matchday one last season

•  Absent from Europe in 2017/18, for the first time in eight years, last season Leverkusen finished first in their UEFA Europa League section ahead of Zürich, AEK Larnaca and Ludogorets, but lost on away goals to Russia’s FC Krasnodar in the round of 32 (0-0 a, 1-1 h).

• The Werkself have drawn seven of their last 12 European home games (W4 D1).

• In the UEFA Champions League, Leverkusen have won only one of their last six matches at the BayArena (D4 L1).

• Last season’s results against Krasnodar mean Leverkusen have won four and lost three of their 11 matches against Russian opposition. They are unbeaten in their last seven, the four most recent having resulted in draws, including two against CSKA Moskva (2-2 home, 1-1 away) in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League group stage. Their home record versus Russian visitors is W2 D2 L1.

• Second in last season’s Russian Premier League, when they won the Russian Cup for the third time in five years, Lokomotiv are in the group stage for the fifth time overall and the second in successive seasons. Their 2018/19 appearance was their first since 2003/04.

• Last season Loko finished bottom of a section involving Porto, Schalke and Galatasaray, losing five games and picking up their only points with a 2-0 home defeat of the Turkish club on matchday five.

Five great Lokomotiv goals

Five great Lokomotiv goals

• The win against Galatasaray ended Loko’s run of six consecutive European defeats – they had won the previous four. That run was the worst losing sequence in Lokomotiv’s European history, eclipsing their five successive losses in 2003.

• Loko lost at Galatasaray (0-3), Porto (1-4) and Schalke (0-1) in last season’s group stage, making it four away European defeats in a row. However, they have still lost only five of their last 13 European away matches (W4 D4).

• Loko are without an away victory in the UEFA Champions League since a 2-1 win at Galatasaray in the 2002/03 first group stage. Their subsequent record, qualifying included, is D4 L9.

• Lokomotiv won their first fixture against German opponents, a 1-0 success at Bayern München in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup first round first leg, but lost the home return 5-0 to the eventual winners, and have been beaten in all six subsequent games against Bundesliga outfits. They lost 1-0 both home and away against Schalke last season, conceding in the 88th and 91st minutes respectively – the loss in Gelsenkirchen coming in the Moscow club’s most recent European fixture, on matchday six.

The top ten goals of the 2018/19 Champions League

The top ten goals of the 2018/19 Champions League

Links and trivia
• Have played in Germany:
Benedikt Höwedes (Schalke 2007–17)
Jefferson Farfán (Schalke 2008–15)
Vedran Ćorluka (Bayer Leverkusen 2012)

• International team-mates:
Jonathan Tah, Sven Bender, Lars Bender, Karim Bellarabi, Kevin Volland & Benedikt Höwedes (Germany)
Paulinho & Murilo Cerqueira (Brazil U23)

• Leverkusen’s Joel Pohjanpalo and Lokomotiv’s Boris Rotenberg both came through the ranks at HJK Helsinki and are both internationals for Finland, as is Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky.

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