Basel and Benfica need Group A boost

SL Benfica will look to extend their unbeaten record against Swiss clubs as they travel to FC Basel 1893 on matchday two.

• With both sides losing their opening fixtures, each will be eager to pick up three points to kick-start their fledgling Group A campaigns.

Previous meetings
• The teams were also paired in the 2011/12 group stage. Benfica had the upper hand, collecting four points from their two fixtures.

• Goals in each half from Bruno César (20) and Óscar Cardozo (75) gave the Portuguese side three points in Basel on matchday three. They ended with ten men after Emerson’s 86th-minute dismissal for a second yellow card.

• The sides at St. Jakob-Park on 18 October 2011 were:
Basel: Sommer, Park, Dragović, Abraham, Steinhöfer, G Xhaka (Cabral 80), Huggel (Chipperfield 85), F Frei (Zoua 66), Shaqiri, Streller, A Frei.
Benfica: Artur, Emerson, Luisão, Bruno César, Garay, Maxi Pereira (Miguel Vítor 78), Javi García, Witsel, Aimar (Nolito 67), Gaitán, Rodrigo (Cardozo 70).

• The game in Lisbon two weeks later finished 1-1, Rodrigo giving Benfica a fourth-minute lead before Benjamin Huggel (64) earned Basel a point.

• Benfica ultimately won the section, going on to lose to eventual champions Chelsea FC in the quarter-finals; Basel finished second in Group C and were beaten by FC Bayern München in the round of 16.

Match background

• Raphaël Wicky’s side qualified by winning an eighth successive Swiss title in 2016/17.

• This is their eighth group stage campaign, and their fourth in five years. Last term they ended fourth in Group A, collecting just two points from their six outings.

Beaten 3-0 at Manchester United FC on matchday one, the Swiss team are without a victory in their last nine European matches, home and away (D3 L6), since a 2-1 home triumph against AS Saint-Étienne on 25 February 2016.

• Basel were eliminated from Europe last season following a 4-1 home defeat by Arsenal FC on 6 December 2016 – only their fifth loss in 22 European home games since the start of 2013/14.

• Basel have lost their last two European home games, and collected a single point from their three matches at St. Jakob-Park in last season’s group stage. Bebbi have won one of their last seven European home fixtures, losing three. 

• Their last taste of Portuguese visitors came in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League group stage, when they went down 2-1 at home to CF Os Belenenses – Basel did win the reverse fixture 2-0 in Portugal.

• Overall Basel have won only two of their seven home fixtures against Portuguese clubs, losing four.

• Portuguese double winners in 2016/17, Benfica are in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the 13th time – and the eighth season running.

• The Lisbon club got to the quarter-finals in 2015/16 and again progressed from the group stage last year, losing 4-1 on aggregate to Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16.

Beaten 2-1 at home by PFC CSKA Moskva on matchday one, Benfica have won only one of their last five European matches, home and away – the 1-0 victory against Dortmund in last season’s round of 16 first leg.

• Having gone down 4-0 in Dortmund in the second leg of that tie, Benfica have won only three of their last 13 away games in European competition, losing six. They picked up four points on their travels in last season’s group stage.

• Their 2011 contests with Basel were Benfica’s first taste of Swiss opponents since a second-round meeting with FC Zürich in the 1982/83 UEFA Cup. A 1-1 draw in Zurich preceded a 4-0 home victory, repeating the pattern of Benfica’s first tie against a Swiss club. Paired with FC La Chaux-de-Fonds in the 1964/65 European Champion Clubs’ Cup first round, Benfica earned a 1-1 away draw before winning 5-0 at home.

• The Lisbon club’s overall record against Swiss sides is W3 D3 L0; away it is W1 D2 L0.

Coach and player links
• Ricky van Wolfswinkel played for Sporting Clube de Portugal between 2011 and 2013. He scored the only goal in a 1-0 Liga win against Benfica on 9 April 2012, with Luisão sent off late on, and was also on target in Sporting’s 3-1 home defeat on 10 December that year. His record against Benfica with Sporting was W1 D0 L3.

• Van Wolfswinkel also scored two goals in four appearances against Vitória SC, then coached by current Benfica coach Rui Vitória (W2 D2).

• Haris Seferović got a goal and an assist in Eintracht Frankfurt’s 4-1 Bundesliga win against VfB Stuttgart on 29 August 2015; Geoffroy Serey Dié set up the Stuttgart goal.

• Marek Suchý played in FC Spartak Moskva’s 2-1 home win and 0-2 away defeat against Benfica in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Jonas was in the Valencia CF side that overturned a 0-3 defeat at Basel with a 5-0 extra-time home win in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.

• Andreas Samaris was on target in Greece’s 2-1 defeat of Dié’s Ivory Coast in the 2014 FIFA World Cup group stage.

• Have played together:
Manuel Akanji, Michael Lang, Luca Zuffi and Renato Steffen Haris Seferović (Switzerland)
Davide Callá Haris Seferović (Grasshopper Club Zürich, 2009/10)
Pedro Pacheco Rúben Dias, João Carvalho, Diogo Gonçalves (Portugal Under-19)

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