Braga primed for Birmingham scrap

SC Braga will confirm their place in the knockout round of the UEFA Europa League on head-to-head record if they defeat Birmingham City FC again on matchday five in Group H.

Braga dressing room
Braga dressing room ©Mathias Kniepeiss

Three sides are level on seven points at the top of Group H, but SC Braga know they will be through to the UEFA Europa League round of 32 on head-to-head record if they can beat Birmingham City FC again.

Previous meetings
• Hélder Barbosa scored twice (6 & 88) either side of an effort from team-mate Lima (59) and a Marlon King strike for Birmingham (71) as the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League finalists won 3-1 in the teams' first meeting.

• It was Birmingham's first - and to date only - European home defeat. Prior to that they had not lost in one previous UEFA competition game and 12 in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the non-UEFA affiliated precursor to the UEFA Cup, in which Birmingham were regulars in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

• This will be Birmingham's fourth game against Portuguese opponents. The Blues beat CD Nacional in the play-offs to reach the group stage, winning 3-0 at home after a 0-0 draw in Funchal.

• Braga's 13 games against English sides have ended W4 D2 L7 (W3 D0 L3 in Portugal). They have won their last three home games against English opposition without conceding; beating Portsmouth FC 3-0, Arsenal FC 2-0 and Liverpool FC 1-0.

Match background
• Braga's 2-1 loss to Club Brugge KV on matchday two is their only home defeat in their last nine European games, a run which includes six wins as well as two draws. They went into that game having not conceded in their seven previous UEFA home fixtures.

• Braga ended Birmingham's unbeaten run at home in UEFA competition, but they are yet to lose a UEFA game away from home having followed up their 0-0 draw at Nacional with 2-1 wins in their two Group H games on the road. They came from behind on both occasions.

Team facts
• Six of Birmingham's seven goals in Group E have come after half-time.

• Braga are three goals shy of conceding their 100th in UEFA club competition; this will be their 86th UEFA game.

• Birmingham's only past Portuguese player of note is José Dominguez; the winger played at St Andrews from 1994 to 1995, later returning to England with Tottenham Hotspur FC from 1997 to 2000.

• Braga's most notable link to England is their colours; the club changed from green and white to red and white shirts in 1921 after their coach saw Arsenal in action during a trip to London. The club have been nicknamed the Arsenalistas ever since.

• Chris Hughton replaced Alex McLeish as Birmingham coach in June following their relegation from the Premier League. The London-born former Irish international left-back spent the bulk of his career at Tottenham, where he also started coaching. His first senior role came at Newcastle United FC from 2009 to 2010.

• Leonardo Jardim is in charge at Braga having replaced Sporting Clube de Portugal-bound Domingos Paciência in the summer. The Venezuelan-born boss was in charge at AD Camacha (2003-08), GD Chaves (2008-09) and SC Beira-Mar (2009-11) before becoming Braga coach in May 2011.

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