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Braga look for lift-off against Maribor

Published: Saturday 22 October 2011, 2.16CET
Sitting third in Group H, last season's UEFA Europa League runners-up SC Braga will be looking to close the gap on the section leaders as they welcome Slovenian champions NK Maribor.
Braga look for lift-off against Maribor
Braga's dressing room at Maribor ©Mathias Kniepeiss
Published: Saturday 22 October 2011, 2.16CET

Braga look for lift-off against Maribor

Sitting third in Group H, last season's UEFA Europa League runners-up SC Braga will be looking to close the gap on the section leaders as they welcome Slovenian champions NK Maribor.

Sitting third in Group H, last season's UEFA Europa League runners-up SC Braga will be looking to close the gap on the section leaders as they welcome Slovenian champions NK Maribor.

Previous meetings
• The two teams drew 1-1 when they met for the first time in UEFA competition on matchday three, having never played a team from their opponents' country before.

• Agim Ibraimi (14) put the home side ahead early on, but Elderson (44) struck back shortly before the break.

• The draw gave Maribor their first point in this season's group stage. In their only previous major UEFA group stage campaign, they took four points to finish bottom of a UEFA Champions League group in 1999/2000 (with a record of W1 D1 L4).

• Only five games in UEFA competition have been played between Slovenian and Portuguese clubs – all of them, prior to matchday three, involving SL Benfica. The Slovenian side's record in those fixtures is W0 D2 L3 with an aggregate scoreline of 18-3 in the Liga team's favour.

Match background
• Braga were unbeaten in seven home games in UEFA competition (five wins, two draws and most notably, no goals conceded) before going down 2-1 to Club Brugge KV on matchday two. Their previous defeat at Estádio Municipal came against FC Shakhtar Donetsk on matchday two of the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League when they lost 3-0.

• Maribor are without a win in three games on the road in Europe (a draw and two defeats) since beating F91 Dudelange 3-1 in this season's UEFA Champions League second qualifying round.

Team facts
• Braga's goal on matchday three was the 50th Maribor have conceded in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League. This is their 34th game in the two competitions, their first being a 1-0 defeat in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup preliminary round against Skonto FC of Latvia.

• Braga are four goals shy of conceding their 100th in UEFA club competition; this will be their 85th UEFA game. Their first was a meeting with AEK Athens FC in the 1966/67 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, a match they ran out 1-0 victors in.

• Both of Maribor's group stage goals this season have come in the opening 30 minutes.

• RSC Anderlecht's Matías Suárez is the group stage's top scorer with five goals. FC Vaslui's Wesley, Braga's Hélder Barbosa, FC Lokomotiv Moskva's Dmitri Sychev and Fulham FC's Andrew Johnson are his closest rivals with three each.

• Maribor sporting director Zlatko Zahovič spent ten years as a player in Portugal with Vitória SC (1993-96), Porto (1996-99) and Benfica (2001-05). Capped 80 times by Slovenia, the attacking midfielder also won four league titles (three with Porto and one with Benfica) as well as two Portuguese Cups (one with Porto, one with Benfica).

• Maribor coach Darko Milanič started his career as a defender with FK Partizan (1986-93), moving on to SK Sturm Graz (1993-2000) and representing both Yugoslavia and Slovenia internationally, earning 47 caps in total. Hired to coach Maribor in 2008, he has now won two league titles and one Slovenian Cup.

• Leonardo Jardim is in charge at Braga having replaced Sporting Clube de Portugal-bound Domingos Paciência in the summer. The Venezuelan-born coach was in charge at AD Camacha (2003-08), GD Chaves (2008-09) and SC Beira-Mar (2009-11) before becoming Braga boss in May 2011.

Last updated: 31/10/11 16.38CET

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