CS Marítimo kick off their first UEFA Europa League group stage campaign against Newcastle United FC, returning to continental competition in Group D following a five-year absence.
• The sides are meeting for the first time.
• Marítimo's four games against English sides were all against Leeds United AFC, who they met in the first round of two UEFA Cup campaigns, in 1998/99 and 2001/02. Leeds won both ties – the former on penalties – but in terms of individual games, Marítimo's record is W2 D0 L2 (W2 D0 L0 at home – W0 D0 L2 in England). They won both the home ties 1-0, and have thus yet to concede against English opponents in Funchal.
• Three games against Sporting Clube de Portugal represent the sum total of Newcastle's experience of Portuguese opposition. They drew 1-1 against Sporting in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup group stage, but lost out to the same side in the quarter-finals, winning 1-0 at home then going down 4-1 in Lisbon.
• Marítimo are unbeaten in four European games this season – two draws and two wins – as they embark on their maiden UEFA group stage campaign, having fallen at the final hurdle before this phase of the competition on three previous occasions.
• This is Newcastle's first season in European competition since they battled their way through the group stage to the 2006/07 UEFA Cup round of 16, losing out on away goals to AZ Alkmaar.
• The Magpies also featured in the inaugural UEFA Cup group stage in 2004/05, before losing out to Sporting in the last eight.
• Marítimo have had three notable British players: Glaswegian striker Ian Wallace (1986-87), who once played for Newcastle's local rivals Sunderland AFC, Northern Ireland defender Colin Hill (1986-87) and striker John Richards (1983-85), who was on the losing side with Wolverhampton Wanderers FC in the first UEFA Cup final in 1972.
• Newcastle's Portuguese playing connections include centre-back Hélder Cristóvão, who spent a season on loan at St James' Park in 1999/2000 and midfielder Hugo Viana (2002-05).
• Sir Bobby Robson – who ended his career with a five-year spell as coach of Newcastle, the club he supported as a boy – enjoyed a successful spell in Portugal, leading Sporting (1992-93) and then winning two titles and a Portuguese Cup at FC Porto (1994-96). During that time, José Mourinho was his assistant and he gave a first break in football to another up-and-coming coach, André Villas-Boas.
• A defensive midfielder, Marítimo coach Pedro Martins reached a career peak with a three-year spell at Sporting (1995-98), later representing Boavista FC and CD Santa Clara. He moved into coaching in the lower leagues, replacing Mitchell van der Gaag at Marítimo in 2010 following a spell as the club's youth team boss.
• Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was the 2011/12 Premier League manager of the year, having established himself at Reading FC, West Ham United FC, Charlton Athletic FC and Southampton FC prior to a move to Tyneside in 2010. A glazier and taxi driver while playing non-league football, the midfielder was in his mid-20s when he became a professional, playing for Crystal Palace FC and Charlton among others.
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.