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FC Twente vs. SL Benfica UEFA Champions League preview

by Football Pub on Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

UEFA Europa League logoFC Twente will hope for better luck against UEFA Champions League play-off rivals SL Benfica than they experienced in their last meeting with Portuguese opponents.

FC Twente’s only previous tie against a Portuguese team was against Sporting Clube de Portugal in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. The Dutch club went out on away goals after a 0-0 draw in Lisbon preceded a 1-1 draw in Enschede, Peter Wisgerhof’s own goal five minutes into added time cancelling out Douglas’s opener. As well as Wisgerhof and Douglas, Wout Brama, Bryan Ruiz and Sander Boschker were all involved in that tie.

Nikolay Mihailov − the son of former CF Os Belenenses goalkeeper and current Bulgarian Football Union president Borislav Mihaylov − came off the bench following Boschker’s dismissal in the first leg and immediately saved a penalty.

SL Benfica have played 19 games against Dutch sides with the record W7 D7 L5 (W1 D6 L2 away). They have drawn their last four away matches against Dutch sides but won their last four home games, a run which stretches back to a 2-1 loss against PSV Eindhoven in March 1975. Their only away win  in  the Netherlands came as  they beat AFC Ajax 3-1  in  the quarter-finals of  the 1968/69 European Champion Clubs’ Cup. However the Lisbon side lost the return leg by the same margin and went down 3-0 in a replay on neutral territory at the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir in Paris. Benfica met PSV Eindhoven in the 1988 Champion Clubs’ Cup final in Stuttgart, losing 6-5 on penalties after a 0-0

Twente have lost just one of their last eight European home games, a 3-1 reverse against Villarreal CF in last season’s UEFA Europa League quarter-finals. Four of those fixtures ended in draws.

Benfica have won just one of their nine last European away games, losing five.  Benfica have picked up 13 victories from their last 15 European home games, posting five in succession at the Estádio Sport Lisboa e Benfica since their only home loss in that sequence – 2-1 against FC Schalke 04 in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage.

FC Twente have won just one of their last five European away matches, 2-0 at FC Rubin Kazan in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League round of 32.  Twente made their only appearance in the UEFA Champions League group stage in 2010/11 after winning their first Dutch title the season before. This is Twente’s third attempt at UEFA Champions League qualifying. They lost out to Arsenal FC in the 2008/09 third qualifying round and to Sporting on away goals the following season. This year, they overcame Romania’s SC Vaslui to reach the play-offs, a 2-0 second-leg victory their first in six qualifying games.

SL Benfica returned to the group stage after a two-season absence in 2010/11, having competed in three successive group phases up to 2007/08. European champions in 1961 and 1962, the Portuguese team had their best runs in the UEFA Champions League era in 1994/95 and 2005/06 when they reached the quarter-finals.

Benfica have featured in qualifying on five occasions, reaching the group stage three times: 1998/99 (Beitar Jerusalem FC, agg: 8-4), 2006/07 (FK Austria Wien, agg: 4-1) and 2007/08 (FC København, agg: 3-1). They missed out in 2003/04 (S.S. Lazio, agg: 1-4) and 2004/05 (RSC Anderlecht, agg: 1-3).