Unbeaten Porto label Maccabi 'main challenge'

Dynamo Kyiv and Chelsea appear more obvious candidates, but Porto boss Julen Lopetegui says Maccabi Tel-Aviv represent his biggest obstacle to a knockout berth.

Porto are put through their paces in training on Monday morning
Porto are put through their paces in training on Monday morning ©AFP/Getty Images
  • Porto welcome Maccabi Tel-Aviv who are without a point in Group G
  • Porto coach Julen Lopetegui calls for "special atmosphere only our fans can create"
  • Hosts have not lost in any competition so far this season
  • Maccabi have won just three of their last seven fixtures in all competitions
  • Slaviša Jokanović tips Lopetegui to become one of best coaches in Europe

Possible lineup
Porto: Casillas; Maxi Pereira, Marcano, Martins Indi, Layún; Rúben Neves, Imbula, André André, Brahimi; Corona, Aboubakar.
Out:
Maicon (thigh)
Doubtful
: Marcano (ankle)

Maccabi Tel-Aviv: Rajković; Dasa, Ben Haim I, Tibi, Rikan; Vermouth, Alberman, Mitrović, Peretz, Zahavi; Ben Basat.
Out: Igiebor (knee)
Doubtful: Radonjić (knee)

Julen Lopetegui, Porto coach
I don't consider Maccabi the weakest team in the group – I think of them as our main challenge. They have very good players and have deserved more from the matches they have played so far in the competition. They eliminated Basel, who are a tough team. We are going to need the atmosphere to be that special Champions League atmosphere that only our fans can produce.

We go into every game with the same will to win. Maccabi are well organised with their own playing style which I like. Their coach is very impressive too, so we will need to play very well in order to win. We will prepare and play to our strengths, not according to what tactics we expect from the opposition.

Slaviša Jokanović, Maccabi Tel-Aviv coach
I'm happy to be here, it's a thrill to play at this stadium. It will be a very tough game but I hope we can get a better result than in the last two matches. My approach as a coach is always trying to win. We have to be clinical, because we won't have many chances.

Our opponents opened the scoring too quickly in our first two matches so we need to ensure that doesn't happen again. Porto are one of the best teams in Europe. They have started the season very well and are the group's in-form side.

I remember playing against Lopetegui: he was one the best keepers at the time in Spain and he has everything to be one of the best coaches in Europe as well. We are ready for battle.

What are the chances?
What are the chances?©UEFA.com

Weekend results
Varzim 0-2 Porto – Portuguese Cup (Tello 20, André André 90)
Goals from Cristian Tello and André André ensured Porto defeated their second-tier hosts to reach the last 32.

Eran Zahavi: 17 goals this season
Eran Zahavi: 17 goals this season©AFP/Getty Images

Maccabi Petach-Tikva 1-2 Maccabi Tel-Aviv (Melamed 30; García 20, Zahavi 80)
M. Tel-Aviv moved four points clear at the Israeli summit after winning away to the team that started Saturday in second place. Carlos García's opener was cancelled out by Guy Malemed but Eran Zahavi's penalty with ten minutes left restored the lead. Daniel Lifshitz was sent off with four minutes to go, meaning Tal Ben Haim II took over in goal, but the visitors held on.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Porto: WWWDWD
Maccabi Tel-Aviv: WWLWLL

Did you know?
Porto are 15 games unbeaten in all competitions since a 6-1 defeat by Bayern in the second leg of their 2014/15 UEFA Champions League semi-final; find out more in our extensive match background

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