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Académica to examine Atlético run

A. Académica de Coimbra face one of the most daunting prospects in European football as they attempt to end the 15-match winning streak of holders Club Atlético de Madrid.

Atlético are in the midst of an impressive winning sequence
Atlético are in the midst of an impressive winning sequence ©AFP/Getty Images

Holders Club Atlético de Madrid will look to extend their record-breaking European winning run to 16 games as A. Académica de Coimbra head for Spain in UEFA Europa League Group B.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition, in what is Académica's maiden encounter with Spanish opponents.

• Atlético's record in 12 games against Portuguese opposition is W4 D4 L4 (W3 D2 L1 at home – W1 D2 L3 in Portugal). Most recently, they beat Vitória SC 2-0 at home and 4-0 away in the play-offs to reach the group stage of the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League – a competition which they went on to win.

• Atlético are unbeaten in four games against Portuguese sides since suffering their only previous home loss to a team from over the border, 3-0 against FC Porto in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Atlético eliminated Sporting Clube de Portugal on away goals in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League round of 16, and thus overcame Portuguese opponents en route to both of their successes in this competition.

Match background
• A 1-0 win against FC Viktoria Plzeň extended Atlético's winning run to a record 15 games in UEFA competition – 14 in the UEFA Europa League plus the 2012 UEFA Super Cup. They have not lost since going down 2-0 at Udinese Calcio on matchday three in last season's UEFA Europa League.

• Atlético have also won their last ten home fixtures in Europe since succumbing 3-2 to Aris Thessaloniki FC in the 2010/11 group stage. They have won ten in a row in all competitions this term.

• Académica have not won a European game in six attempts (D2 L4) since a 2-0 win against 1. FC Magdeburg in the second round of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup on 26 November 1969. They embarked on a four-match losing streak on the road in Europe after winning 1-0 at KuPS Kuopio in the first round of the same competition on 1 October 1969.

• That victory against Magdeburg is the only occasion in their ten European appearances when Coimbra scored more than once.

Team facts 
• Atlético, S.S. Lazio, FC Metalist Kharkiv, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Newcastle United FC are the only sides who have yet to concede in this season's group stage.

• Only Atlético, FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and Olympique Lyonnais go into matchday three with maximum points from their two games.

• Atlético boast Portuguese talent in the form of vice-captain Tiago Mendes (SC Braga and SL Benfica) and defender Sílvio (Braga), while Cristian Rodríguez (Benfica and FC Porto), Diego Costa (Braga) and Falcao (Porto) also played in Portugal.

• Académica midfielder Bruno China and Atlético defensive midfielder Mario Suárez played together at RCD Mallorca in 2009/10. Académica's Serge N'Gal (Villarreal CF), John Ugo (UD Almería) and Edinho (Málaga CF) have also played in Spain.

• Hired in December 2011, Atlético coach Diego Simeone picked up the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup trophies in his first eight months in charge, to add to the considerable haul he won as a defensive midfielder. A Spanish double-winner in 1995/96 in the first of two spells with Atlético, the man capped 106 times by Argentina captured the 1997/98 UEFA Cup at FC Internazionale Milano and then an Italian double in 1999/2000 with S.S. Lazio.

• Born in Angola, ex-defender Pedro Emanuel helped Boavista FC win their only league championship in 2000/01, before he claimed five more titles as a player with FC Porto, as well as the 2002/03 UEFA Cup and 2003/04 UEFA Champions League. Assistant to André Villas-Boas at Porto in 2010/11, he took sole command of Académica the following season, and guided the side to Portuguese Cup glory – their first trophy since 1939.

• This is FARE Action Week, with UEFA giving its support to Europe's biggest anti-discrimination campaign. There are activities before each UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League game which will be witnessed by thousands of fans in the stadiums and millions on television. A 30-second RESPECT TV spot and announcements over stadium loudspeakers will encourage fans to join the UEFA family in its call to unite against racism in football. Every team will be accompanied on to the pitch by children wearing Unite Against Racism T-shirts and captains will be asked to wear a Unite Against Racism armband.

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