This Wednesday's victory over Monaco guaranteed the qualification of the Dragons to the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League for the 13th time since their first appearance in 1992/93. In comparison, the numbers are overwhelming: the blue and whites have more than double the participations at this stage reached by the other four Portuguese clubs that have played in the Champions League (six).
FC Porto - record holder in the group stage (22), alongside Real Madrid and FC Barcelona - is ninth in terms of qualification to the knockout stage, behind only Real Madrid (22), Bayern Munich (20), FC Barcelona (19), Manchester United (17), Arsenal (15), Milan (14), Chelsea (14), and Juventus (14). The top ten is closed by Inter Milan (ten).
To assure these 13 appearances, FC Porto - alongside Ajax, the only club outside of the five major European Championships to win the Champions League – beat 14 qualifying groups, since the format of the competition, in 1999/2000, accounted for two groups until the elimination round, which started in the quarter-finals. This is the seventh presence in this stage of the competition for FC Porto in the last decade and the tenth in the last 15 years.
Regarding the comparison to other Portuguese teams, it should be added that FC Porto has more matches in the Champions League (176) than all other clubs combined (174), and is the only one with more victory than defeats (74 victories, 44 ties, and 58 defeats), and more goals scored (233) than conceded (200).
The draw for the first knockout round takes place on Monday at 11h00, mainland Portugal time, in Nyon, Switzerland. Here are the possible opponents: Manchester United (England), Paris Saint-Germain (France), Rome (Italy), Barcelona (Spain), Liverpool (England), Manchester City (England) and Tottenham (England).