Braga v Wolves facts

The top two teams in Group K meet in northern Portugal knowing a draw will ensure the presence of both clubs in the round of 32.

Ricardo Horta (No21) accepts the congratulations after scoring the only goal of Braga's win at Wolves
Ricardo Horta (No21) accepts the congratulations after scoring the only goal of Braga's win at Wolves ©AFP/Getty Images

The top two teams in Group K meet in northern Portugal knowing a draw will ensure the presence of both clubs in the round of 32, though Braga will want to complete the double over Wolverhampton Wanderers and therefore wrap up first place in the section.

• Braga, who beat Wolves 1-0 at Molineux on Matchday 1, are unbeaten with ten points from their first four matches, a 2-2 draw at home to Slovan Bratislava preceding back-to-back wins against Beşiktaş (2-1 a, 3-1 h). Since that opening defeat, the English side have accumulated maximum points, added-time goals bringing 1-0 wins in Turkey and, last time out, at home to a Slovan side they defeated 2-1 in the Slovakian capital a fortnight earlier.

• With Slovan on four points and Beşiktaş yet to get off the mark, Braga and Wolves are in such a commanding position that they will both go through not only with a draw but also, irrespective of the scoreline in Portugal, if the Slovakian champions fail to win in Istanbul.

Highlights: Wolves 0-1 Braga
Highlights: Wolves 0-1 Braga

Previous meetings
• The clubs' first European encounter went the way of the visitors as a 71st-minute breakaway goal from Ricardo Horta enabled Braga to take all three points in Wolverhampton on Matchday 1.

• Braga's record in 19 matches against English opposition is now W7 D2 L10, with five wins and four losses in their nine home fixtures. A 1-3 defeat against Manchester United in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League group stage – the last time that they hosted a Premier League club – followed four successive victories without conceding a goal against English visitors.

• The home game against Braga was Wolves' seventh UEFA encounter with Portuguese opposition, victories having been recorded in five of the previous six, including two out of three in Portugal, where they last played back in September 1974, losing 4-1 to Porto in the first round of the UEFA Cup

Highlights: Braga 3-1 Beşiktaş
Highlights: Braga 3-1 Beşiktaş

Form guide
Braga
• Braga's 15th European qualification in the last 16 years was achieved with a fourth-placed finish in the 2018/19 Portuguese Liga, a season in which their European ambitions ended unusually early with elimination on away goals by Zorya Luhansk in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.

• Brøndby (4-2 a, 3-1 h) and Spartak Moskva (1-0 h, 2-1 a) were both overcome in this season's qualifying phase to take Braga into the group stage for the fifth time. They have made further progress on three of the previous four occasions, though their best season in the competition – and in Europe overall – came in 2010/11 when they crossed over in mid-campaign from the UEFA Champions League and knocked out, among others, Liverpool (1-0 h, 0-0 a) and Benfica before losing 1-0 in the Dublin final to domestic rivals Porto.

• Braga are unbeaten in 11 European matches (W8 D3) and have won seven out of eight this season. They are also on a run of seven European home games without defeat, since Ludogorets beat them 2-0 on Matchday 3 of the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League – the only loss in their last 11 continental fixtures at the Estádio Municipal (W8 D2).

Highlights: Slovan Bratislava 1-2 Wolves
Highlights: Slovan Bratislava 1-2 Wolves

Wolves
• In their first season after promotion to the Premier League, Wolves finished seventh in 2018/19 to qualify for European competition for the first time since they lost in the 1980/81 UEFA Cup first round to PSV Eindhoven.

• The West Midlanders' best European experience by some distance came in the inaugural UEFA Cup of 1971/72, when they went all the way to the final before losing 3-2 on aggregate to English rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

• Wolves have won all five of their European away fixtures this season – against Crusaders (4-1), Pyunik (4-0) and Torino (3-2) in the qualifying phase and at Beşiktaş and Slovan in the group stage. They were also unbeaten away from home in the 1971/72 UEFA Cup (W3 D3).

Highlights: Braga 2-2 Slovan Bratislava
Highlights: Braga 2-2 Slovan Bratislava

Links and trivia
• In addition to coach Nuno Espírito Santo, there are seven Portuguese players in Wolves' squad – Rui Patrício, Rúben Neves, João Moutinho, Diogo Jota, Rúben Vinagre, Pedro Neto and Bruno Jordão, the latter two products of Braga's youth academy.

• Wolves' French defender Willy Boly was a Braga player from 2015–16, while Mexican striker Raúl Jiménez scored three goals against Braga during his time at Benfica from 2015–18.

• João Moutinho (Sporting CP, 2005/06) and Diogo Jota (Paços de Ferreira, 2015/16) have also scored in 1-0 Liga wins at home to Braga.

• Braga goalkeeper Eduardo was on Chelsea's books for three years but played no official games for the London side before leaving this July to rejoin the club that launched his career.

• Braga forward Rui Fonte has also had spells in London, with Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Fulham.

• Wolves are one of six UEFA Europa League group stage debutants this season; the others are Espanyol, Ferencváros, Olexandriya and two Austrian clubs, LASK and Wolfsberg.

• Rui Patrício made his 49th appearance in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, on Matchday 4. He is poised to become the tenth player – and the first goalkeeper – to reach the half-century.

Highlights: Beşiktaş 0-1 Wolves
Highlights: Beşiktaş 0-1 Wolves

The coaches
• A gifted support striker who represented Portugal on 45 occasions, scoring ten goals, and appeared at the UEFA European Championship in 1996 and 2000, Ricardo Sá Pinto spent the majority of his club career at Sporting CP, his two spells at the Lisbon club broken by a three-year stint at Real Sociedad. His first head coach position was back at Sporting, in 2012, but it was short-lived and from there he moved abroad, working in Serbia, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Belgium and latterly Poland with Legia Warszawa before signing a two-year contract with Braga in July 2019.

• A former goalkeeper who was in Portugal's UEFA EURO 2008 squad but never won a senior cap, Nuno Espírito Santo was mostly a back-up during his playing career but as a manager he is very much at the forefront, having emerged as a studious, progressive coach during spells at Valencia, Porto and, since May 2017, Wolves. He first made his mark by taking Portuguese provincial club Rio Ave to two cup finals and into Europe before shining in Spain during an 18-month stint at Mestalla. He led Wolves into the Premier League in his first season and into the UEFA Europa League in his second.

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