Last year's finalists SC Braga will be up against a former coach and a lifelong supporter when Carlos Carvalhal returns to Portugal with Beşiktaş JK in the round of 32.
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SC Braga will be up against a former coach and lifelong supporter as Carlos Carvalhal's Beşiktaş JK and their substantial Portuguese contingent head west for their UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg.
• The sides have been paired for the first time in UEFA competition.
• Braga beat Sivasspor 5-0 on aggregate (2-0 away and 3-0 at home) in the 2008 UEFA Intertoto Cup third round in their only previous meeting with Turkish opposition.
• Beşiktaş's five matches against Portuguese sides have ended W1 D1 L3 (W1 D1 L1 in Portugal). They are without a win in four games against Liga opposition having won their first match, 3-1 at Vitória SC in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage.
• Beaten UEFA Europa League finalists last season, Braga have lost just once in eight European games this season, also recording three wins and four draws. That defeat – against Club Brugge KV – is their only loss in ten European home games, seven of which have ended in victory.
• Braga have reached the round of 32 for the fifth time in the last six seasons; on only one of those previous occasions – in 2007/08 – have they failed to progress, falling foul of a SV Werder Bremen side featuring Beşiktaş's Hugo Almeida.
• Beşiktaş ended a run of four straight UEFA Europa League away defeats with a 3-2 victory at Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC on matchday five.
• Last season Beşiktaş made it through the round of 32 for the first time since the advent of the UEFA Cup group stage, only to lose 8-1 on aggregate to FC Dynamo Kyiv. They met again in this season's group stage, trading 1-0 home wins.
• Beşiktaş boast a Portuguese coach – Carlos Carvalhal – and six Portuguese players: Manuel Fernandes, Simão, Ricardo Quaresma, Júlio Alves, Hugo Almeida and Bebé, who is on loan from Manchester United FC and had a short spell at Braga's local rivals Vitória SC in 2010. He and Braga midfielder Custódio were briefly team-mates at Guimaraes at the start of last season.
• Brazilian defender Sidnei played in Portugal with SL Benfica, where he was a team-mate of Braga striker Nuno Gomes from 2008 to 2011.
• Carvalhal was born in Braga, has often proclaimed himself a supporter of the club and was in charge at the Estádio Municipal in 2006/07. He started his playing career as a defender at the club and represented them in three spells.
• Fran Mérida, who was loaned to Braga in the autumn, and Beşiktaş winger Simão were team-mates at Club Atlético de Madrid last season.
• Leonardo Jardim is in charge at Braga having replaced Sporting Clube de Portugal-bound Domingos Paciência in the summer. The Venezuelan-born coach had spells at AD Camacha, GD Chaves and SC Beira-Mar before joining Braga.
• Beşiktaş's next goal will be their 200th in UEFA competition; this is their 159th game.
• Nine of Beşiktaş's 13 group stage goals came after the break, four of them within 15 minutes of the restart.
• Braga have conceded 98 goals in UEFA competition; this is their 88th match.
Round of 16
• The winners of this tie will take S.S. Lazio or Atlético in the round of 16 on 8 and 15 March, playing the second leg at home.
• Braga have met neither of their potential opponents in UEFA competition.
• Beşiktaş have never met Atlético but took on Lazio in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup quarter-finals (losing 1-0 in Rome, then 2-1 in Istanbul) and the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League group stage (losing 2-0 in Istanbul then drawing 1-1 in Rome).
• An updated version of the UEFA Europa League Statistics Handbook is available here: