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Sion v Braga background

Unbeaten at home in Europe this season, Sion have not played in a springtime UEFA competition game since 1987 as they welcome 2011 finalists Braga in the round of 32

Sion celebrate reaching the round of 32
Sion celebrate reaching the round of 32 ©AFP/Getty Images

In the UEFA Europa League round of 32, FC Sion will look to record their first victory in a springtime UEFA competition game as they welcome SC Braga, who have yet to lose to Swiss opponents.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.

• Sion lost 6-2 on aggregate to FC Porto in the 1992/93 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round in their only previous tie against Portuguese opposition.

• Braga are unbeaten in three games against Swiss sides (W1 D2 L0), most recently eliminating BSC Young Boys in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League play-offs.

Form guide
• Sion are without a win in three continental games (D2 L1), but are unbeaten at home in Europe this season (W1 D2).

• Braga's away record in Europe this term is W1 D1 L1 with just two goals scored in the course of those three matches.

• Sion are playing in the spring phase of a UEFA competition for the first time since bowing out to 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig in the 1986/87 European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals.

• Losing finalists in 2011 – when they transferred over after the UEFA Champions League group stage – Braga have now made it to the round of 32 from all five of their UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns.

Trivia and links
• The journey from Braga to Sion is just short of 1,400km.

• Sion's Portuguese forward Carlitos is the most fouled player in this season's UEFA Europa League with 22 infringements against him.

The coaches
• A UEFA Cup finalist with FC Girondins de Bordeaux in 1996, French striker Didier Tholot ended his playing career as player-coach at Sion and took charge of the club for a third time in 2014. He led Sion to Swiss Cup success in 2009 during his second spell and lifted that trophy again last term.

• Appointed to the Braga hot seat last summer, former defender Paulo Fonseca, 42, had a low-key playing career. Having made his name in the second division as boss of CD Aves, Fonseca twice coached FC Paços de Ferreira in the top flight either side of a stint at FC Porto, where he was once on the books as a player.