Having started their ninth group campaign with a defeat, Sporting CP are hoping to rediscover their home form of old against LASK.
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Having got their record-breaking ninth UEFA Europa League campaign off to a false start, Sporting CP return to Lisbon hoping to rediscover their home form of old against a LASK side that kicked off their maiden European group adventure with a win.
• Goals from Bruno Fernandes and Pedro Mendes were not enough to spare Sporting a 3-2 defeat at PSV Eindhoven on matchday one, whereas a single goal in first-half added time from Australian midfielder James Holland proved sufficient to give LASK all three points at home to Norwegian champions Rosenborg.
• LASK have never previously faced a Portuguese club in UEFA competition.
• Sporting have entertained Austrian visitors four times in the past and been victorious on each occasion, scoring ten goals and conceding none. The most recent of those wins came against Rapid Wien (2-0) in the first round of the 2004/05 UEFA Cup – a competition in which the Lisbon club went on to reach the final, which they lost 1-3 to CSKA Moskva in their home stadium.
• Sporting qualified automatically for the 2019/20 group stage by winning last season's Portuguese Cup, a penalty shoot-out win in the final against Porto adding to a third-placed finish in the Liga. They also reached the UEFA Europa League round of 32, where they were knocked out by Villarreal.
• This is Sporting's ninth appearance in the UEFA Europa League proper – a competition record – and their seventh in the group stage, five of their previous six having brought further progress into the knockout phase. The Lisbon side's best performance came in 2011/12, when they reached the semi-finals.
• Sporting went a record 20 home games unbeaten in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, in their first five seasons of participation (W13 D7) but have now lost four of the last 11, including a pair of 0-1 defeats last season to Arsenal and Villarreal. Their overall home record in the group stage is W12 D4 L2.
• Runners-up to Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga last season, LASK also took part in UEFA competition for the first time since 2000. Having defeated Lillestrøm in the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round, they were then eliminated by Beşiktaş on away goals (0-1 a, 2-1 h).
• LASK entered Europe this season in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, where they recorded a 5-2 aggregate victory against Switzerland's Basel (2-1 a, 3- h) but could not repeat the trick in the play-offs, losing home (0-1) and away (1-2) to Club Brugge and therefore entering the UEFA Europa League group stage instead.
• The Linz club have lost five of their last eight European away games (W2 D1).
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• One more win will give Sporting 28 in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, matching the tally of Lisbon rivals – and two-time runners-up – Benfica. They also need four more goals to reach 100 in the competition proper – a tally so far attained by only five other clubs.
• LASK are one of six clubs making their debut this season in the UEFA Europa League group stage, along with Espanyol, Wolves, Olexandriya, Ferencváros and fellow Austrians Wolfsberg.
• Silas was appointed as Sporting coach on 27 September, replacing interim boss Leonel Pontes. The Lisbon-born former midfielder, who signed a contract until the end of the season, was available after being dismissed earlier in the month by Belenenses, where he had taken on his first coaching post in January 2018. A graduate of Sporting's academy, his playing career took him on a long and winding journey that included stops at União Leiria (where he was coached by José Mourinho), Belenenses (where he worked under Jorge Jesus) and in Spain, England, Cyprus and India before he decided to hang up his boots in 2017 aged 40.
• A former central defender who started out with home-town club Strasbourg, Valérien Ismaël spent the latter part of his career in Germany, winning the domestic double with both Werder Bremen and Bayern München. His final club, Hannover, gave him his first coaching opportunity in charge of the reserves, and he occupied a similar role at Wolfsburg, which was punctuated by a brief spell as head coach at Nürnberg. After a short spell as the main man at Wolfsburg, from October 2016 to February 2017, he resurfaced in Austria as the new boss of LASK in May 2019.