Potter targets record-breaking run, Parker joins exclusive club – Champions League in Opta numbers

By Sports Desk February 14, 2023

The second set of Champions League last-16 fixtures to take place this week is full of intrigue, with the continent's biggest-spending club of the January transfer window in need of a result.

Graham Potter's Chelsea forked out an estimated £291million to reshape their squad last month, but the misfiring Blues have won just one of their eight games this calendar year. 

For all his struggles on the domestic front, Potter has yet to suffer a Champions League defeat with Chelsea, and maintaining that record at Borussia Dortmund would give them an excellent chance of reaching the last eight.

Potter is not the only under-fire English boss to take centre stage on Wednesday, with former Fulham and Bournemouth head coach Scott Parker overseeing Club Brugge's clash with Benfica.

With just one win in nine games since the World Cup, Brugge will be considered outsiders against the Lisbon giants, who were outstanding as they finished above Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus in Group H.

Stats Perform has taken a look at the key Opta numbers ahead of Wednesday's first-leg match-ups. 

Borussia Dortmund v Chelsea

Somewhat surprisingly given their statuses as European regulars, Dortmund and Chelsea will do battle for the first time in continental competition on Wednesday.

The omens are not particularly good for either side, as a BVB team without a win in their last 10 European meetings with English opponents (D2 L8) face a Chelsea side with just three victories in 11 previous away games in Germany (D3 L5).

Dortmund's last win over Premier League opponents came against Tottenham in the Europa League in 2016, with current Chelsea striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netting twice in a 2-1 triumph.

Aubameyang will not be welcomed back by the yellow wall on Wednesday, however, having been left out of Chelsea's Champions League squad following their huge spending spree.

Instead, Germany international Kai Havertz may lead the line as he bids for a first career goal against BVB – his seven appearances without netting against Dortmund are more than he has managed against any other club.

Dortmund, meanwhile, could hand Sebastien Haller his first Champions League appearance for the club following his recovery from testicular cancer. The former Ajax man has more goals in his first eight games in the competition (11) than any other player.

Additionally, Haller has averaged a goal every 61 minutes of Champions League football, the best ratio in the competition's history (minimum 250 minutes played).

Should Chelsea keep Haller quiet en route to victory, Potter would become the first English manager to win five consecutive Champions League matches, with a 1-1 draw against Salzburg in his first game at the helm the only blot on his European record with the Blues.

Club Brugge v Benfica

Two of the group stage's surprise packages meet in Belgium, with Brugge having escaped Group B at the expense of Bayer Leverkusen and Atletico Madrid, while Benfica bested PSG and Juventus.

Brugge boss Parker has struggled since replacing Carl Hoefkens, but he will join an exclusive club on Wednesday as just the third English coach to lead a non-English team in the Champions League, after Bobby Robson (Porto and PSV) and Gary Neville (Valencia).

In Parker and Potter, meanwhile, two different English managers will coach in the same Champions League campaign for the first time in the competition's history.

Benfica are sure to make things difficult for Parker's team. The Portuguese giants are unbeaten in their last seven Champions League games (W4 D3) and are chasing three consecutive wins in the competition for the first time since the 2005-06 campaign.

In the group stage, Benfica generated more shots (14) and scored more goals (five) following high turnovers (open-play sequences starting within 40 metres of the opponent's goal) than any other team, showing their devastating counter-attacking abilities.

Benfica also have the highest conversion rate of any team, netting with 20 per cent of their shots in the Champions League this term (16/80).

Home goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, then, could be in for a busy outing. Fortunately for Brugge, he has prevented more goals than any other goalkeeper in the Champions League this season (6.3) – being beaten four times from 10.3 expected goals on target faced.

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