Braga will be eager to join Leicester City at the top of UEFA Europa League Group G after suffering a heavy Matchday 3 defeat away to the competition debutants.
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Braga will be eager to join Leicester City at the top of UEFA Europa League Group G after suffering a heavy Matchday 3 defeat away to the competition debutants, who are closing in on the knockout phase.
• Leicester are enjoying their first taste of UEFA Europa League football, their opening wins against Zorya Luhansk (3-0 h) and AEK Athens (2-1 a) supplemented by a resounding 4-0 success at home to Braga in which Kelechi Iheanacho struck twice before further goals from Dennis Praet and James Maddison completed the club's biggest European victory.
• Leicester's maximum haul has them three points above Braga and six better off than third-placed AEK Athens.
• Braga's record in 21 matches against English opposition is now W7 D3 L11. Five of those victories have come in Portugal, four in a row preceding a 3-1 defeat by Manchester United in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League group stage. Last season they were held 3-3 at the Estádio Municipal by Wolves on UEFA Europa League Matchday 5 with André Horta, Paulinho and Fransérgio all on the scoresheet.
• Leicester's only previous visit to Portugal brought about their heaviest European defeat, 5-0 against Porto on Matchday 6 of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League, although they went into that fixture, in which Harvey Barnes made his club debut, having already qualified for the knockout phase as group winners.
• Braga's 16th European qualification in the last 17 years was achieved with a third-placed finish in the 2019/20 Portuguese Liga, a season in which they also topped their UEFA Europa League group undefeated ahead of Wolves, Slovan Bratislava and Beşiktaş before losing out to Rangers in the round of 32 (2-3 a, 0-1 h).
• The 2010/11 runners-up are competing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the sixth time. They have gone through to the knockout phase in four of their previous five campaigns, winning their group on three occasions, including the last two.
• Braga were unbeaten home and away in 13 European matches (W9 D4) until they lost twice to Rangers last spring, the home defeat one of only two in their last 14 continental fixtures at the Estádio Municipal (W9 D3). In the UEFA Europa League group stage their record at home is W10 D3 L3, that tenth victory coming on Matchday 1 when they beat AEK 3-0.
• Leicester finished fifth in the 2019/20 Premier League to qualify for a first appearance in the UEFA Europa League and direct entry to the group stage.
• This is only the club's fifth European campaign. Their most successful was the most recent, in 2016/17, when, as champions of England, they made their debut appearance in the UEFA Champions League, topped their group and went on to reach the quarter-finals – the best performance by any English club in the competition that season – losing to Atlético de Madrid.
• Leicester's 2-1 win in Athens on Matchday 2 ended a run of three successive European away defeats. They have won only three of their ten away fixtures in UEFA competition, the best of them 3-0 at Club Brugge on their UEFA Champions League debut four seasons ago.
Links and trivia
• Youri Tielemans' next appearance in UEFA club competition will be his 50th. The Belgian international is the most experienced European campaigner in the Leicester squad.
• Leicester right-back Ricardo, who has been out of action since March with a knee ligament injury, began his career with Braga's local rivals Vitória SC, lifting the Portuguese Cup with the club in his debut season, 2012/13, after scoring the winner in the final against a Benfica side whose consolation goal in a 2-1 defeat was scored by current Braga player Nicolás Gaitán.
• Ricardo later moved to Porto, with whom he won the 2017/18 Liga before joining Leicester. Braga's Galeno was his team-mate at the Estádio do Dragão.
• Gaitán was an Atlético player in 2016/17 but remained on the bench as an unused substitute in both legs of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Leicester.
• Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has been successful in his two previous UEFA Europa League group campaigns, leading Liverpool to first place ahead of Anji, Young Boys and Udinese in 2012/13 and Celtic to a runners-up spot behind Salzburg but above RB Leipzig and Rosenborg in 2018/19. However, his four round of 32 ties – two with Liverpool (against Zenit in 2012/13 and Beşiktaş in 2014/15) and two with Celtic (against Zenit again in 2017/18 and Valencia in 2018/19) – all ended in elimination.
• Carlos Carvalhal returned to Braga as head coach in August, 14 years after his first spell in charge. He coached ten other clubs in the interim but experienced just two European campaigns during that time, leading Sporting CP (2009/10) and Beşiktaş (2011/12) to the UEFA Europa League round of 16, where both were knocked out by eventual winners Atlético.
• Leicester are one of six group stage debutants in this season's UEFA Europa League – alongside CSKA-Sofia (Group A), Granada and Omonoia (both E), Sivasspor (I) and Royal Antwerp (J). They are the only one to have won their opening three matches.