Braga v Hoffenheim background

Braga will ensure a fourth visit to the UEFA Europa League round of 32 if they complete the double over a Hoffenheim side desperate for a first away win in European competition.

Braga celebrate on matchday four
Braga celebrate on matchday four ©AFP/Getty Images

Braga will ensure a fourth visit to the UEFA Europa League round of 32 if they complete the double over a Hoffenheim side desperate for a first away win in European competition.

Qualification will also be assured for the Portuguese club if they draw and İstanbul Başakşehir fail to win the other Group C fixture away to section leaders Ludogorets.

• Hoffenheim will be out if they lose, or if they draw and Ludogorets do not lose, due to their head-to-head inferiority to Braga.

Previous meetings
• The sides met for the first time in European competition on matchday one, Braga coming from behind to win 2-1 thanks to goals from João Carlos and Dyego Sousa after German international striker Sandro Wagner had put Hoffenheim in front.

• That was Braga's first win in seven matches against Bundesliga teams (D2 L4). Their last two home fixtures against German sides have both ended in defeat.

Form guide
• Braga have lost just one of their eight European matches this season (W5 D2) – their most recent home fixture, in which they succumbed 2-0 to Ludogorets on matchday three.

• Fourth in the 2016/17 Bundesliga, Hoffenheim took four points from their two group games against İstanbul Başakşehir, having lost each of their first four European encounters. They have, however, scored at least once on each of their six European outings.

• Fifth in Portugal last term, and runners-up in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League, Braga are competing in this group stage for the third straight season. Last season’s failure to reach the round of 32 ended a perfect record of qualifying from UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group stages, their first five forays having all been successful.

• Beaten by Liverpool home and away in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, Hoffenheim are contesting the UEFA Europa League group stage in what is the club's debut season in European competition.

Highlights: Hoffenheim 1-2 Braga
Highlights: Hoffenheim 1-2 Braga

Links and trivia
• The journey from Hoffenheim's Sinsheim home to Braga is around 1,600km.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Raúl Silva, Ricardo Ferreira and Marcelo Goiano (Braga); Dennis Geiger, Kerem Demirbay and Andrej Kramarić (Hoffenheim).

The coaches
• At the helm since April 2017, Abel Ferreira was previously Braga's B team coach. A right-back, he graduated from home-town side Penafiel to Vitória Guimarães, Braga and Sporting CP, where he won two Portuguese Cups before retiring in 2011.

• Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann's playing career ended prematurely due to persistent knee problems, but he shone as a youth coach and – aged 28 – took charge of Hoffenheim in 2016, becoming the Bundesliga's youngest-ever senior boss.