Sporting CP v FCSB: play-off facts and stats

Sporting CP have unhappy memories of the UEFA Champions League play-offs, something the Lions will hope to change when they take on FCSB for a place in the group stage.

Sporting lost at this stage to CSKA Moskva in 2015/16 – their most recent appearance in the play-offs
Sporting lost at this stage to CSKA Moskva in 2015/16 – their most recent appearance in the play-offs ©AFP/Getty Images

Beaten in both their previous UEFA Champions League play-off ties, Sporting CP will be striving to ensure it is a case of third time lucky against FCSB. 

Previous meetings
• The first leg represents the clubs' first meeting in UEFA competition.

• Sporting have played six matches against Romanian clubs – and the home team have won every one, with the away side failing to score on each occasion.

• FCSB have won only one of their previous six games against clubs from Portugal, beating Rio Ave 2-1 in Bucharest in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League group stage; they drew 2-2 away.

• FCSB's previous four fixtures against Portuguese opposition all came against Benfica, to whom they lost in the 1987/88 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-finals (0-0 home, 0-2 away). In the 1994/95 UEFA Champions League group stage, a 2-1 defeat in Lisbon was followed by a 1-1 draw in Romania.

Match background
• Sporting are aiming to reach the group stage for the third time in four years.

• The Lisbon side have lost both their previous UEFA Champions League play-offs – against ACF Fiorentina in 2009/10 and PFC CSKA Moskva in 2015/16.

• In 2016/17, Sporting finished fourth in their group behind Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid CF and Legia Warszawa.

• Sporting qualified by coming third in the Portuguese Liga in 2016/17.

• The Portuguese team have lost three of their last four European home games, winning the other.

• The Romanian club reached the play-offs with a 6-3 aggregate win against FC Viktoria Plzeň of the Czech Republic, following up a 2-2 home draw with a 4-1 away success.

• FCSB are seeking to contest the group stage for the eighth time, and the first since 2013/14.

• The Bucharest side's record in UEFA Champions League play-offs is W1 L2. They beat Legia Warszawa on away goals in 2013/14 but lost to PFC Ludogorets Razgrad on penalties the next year and went down 6-0 on aggregate to Manchester City FC in 2016/17.

• In 2016/17, FCSB went on to finish fourth in their UEFA Europa League group.

• FCSB qualified for the UEFA Champions League after coming second in last season's Romanian top flight.

• The 4-1 victory at Plzeň was FCSB's first in six European away fixtures (D2 L3).

Team and coach links
• Romanian László Bölöni, a member of FC Steaua București's 1986 European Cup-winning team, coached Sporting to their most recent league title triumph, in 2001/02. The Lions also landed the Portuguese Cup and domestic Super Cup during his two-season tenure.

• FCSB boast Portuguese talent in the form of Paris-born Filipe Teixeira.

• Júnior Morais spent a season and a half with Portuguese lower-league outfit SC Freamunde before moving to Romania in January 2011.

Coach profiles
• A losing UEFA Europa League finalist with SL Benfica in 2013 and 2014, Jorge Jesus unexpectedly left the Eagles for local rivals Sporting in summer 2015. The 63-year-old had started his playing career at Sporting – where his father Virgolino had also been a player – yet had coached Benfica since 2009.

• Appointed in June, having guided SCM Pitești to promotion to the Romanian second tier in the 2016/17 season, former attacking midfielder Nicolae Dică won league titles as a player with Steaua and CFR 1907 Cluj. The 37-year-old represented Romania on 32 occasions, scoring nine goals, featuring in all three of their matches at UEFA EURO 2008. He was voted Romanian player of the year in 2006.