CD Nacional coach Manuel Machado will have the chance to avenge an old defeat when last season's UEFA Cup runners-up Werder Bremen open their UEFA Europa League Group L campaign in Funchal.
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CD Nacional coach Manuel Machado will have the chance to avenge an old defeat when last season's beaten UEFA Cup finalists Werder Bremen kick off their UEFA Europa League Group L campaign in Funchal.
• Nacional have never played German opponents before, while Bremen's previous two trips to Portugal produced a 3-2 defeat by FC Porto and – in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup round of 32 – a 1-0 win at SC Braga.
• Having competed in the last five UEFA Champions League group stages, Bremen never participated in a UEFA Cup group phase. However, they dropped into the latter competition as the third-placed side in their UEFA Champions League section on three occasions.
• Nacional are making their debut in the group stage of a UEFA club competition. Their two previous European campaigns ended with first-round losses in the 2004/05 and 2006/07 UEFA Cups.
• Prior to this season, Nacional had lost all four of their European matches played, but they broke their duck in style in the UEFA Europa League play-off, beating 2007/08 UEFA Cup winners FC Zenit St. Petersburg 4-3 in Madeira and then drawing 1-1 in Russia.
• Both teams are islanders, technically-speaking. Nacional come from Madeira, in the mid-Atlantic, while Bremen take their name from the island ('Werder') in the River Weser on which they were formed.
• Machado is in his second spell in charge at Nacional. He started his coaching career in his native Guimaraes as a youth trainer at Vitória SC, eventually coaching the senior team there as well as A. Académica de Coimbra and Braga.
• Bremen are still under the command of Thomas Schaaf, who represented the club as a defender from 1978-95, stayed on as a coach and eventually took charge of the first team in 1999.
• Machado and Schaaf met in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup round of 32, with Bremen beating Machado's Braga 3-0 at home and 1-0 away. Machado's side had earlier held Bremen's Bundesliga rivals FC Bayern München to a 1-1 draw in the group stage of the same competition.
• Bremen boast Portuguese talent in the form of Hugo Almeida, one of the scorers in that 3-0 win against Braga.
• Bremen will host Athletic Club Bilbao on Matchday 2, while Nacional face a trip to FK Austria Wien on the same night, 1 October.