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10/17/2017

Tilting the scale

FC Porto faces Leipzig, in Germany, for matchday three of the group stage of the UEFA Champions League


FC Porto plays this Tuesday in Germany against Leipzig, aiming at getting three more points in Group G of the UEFA Champions League, thus taking another step towards the 14th participation in the Round of 16 of the competition. A victory in this third round of the competition will allow the Dragons to regain their advantage in the history of matches against German teams, which is currently tied (12 victories, seven ties and 12 defeats), and, on the other hand, repeat something that hasn’t happened in almost 11 years.

On November 1, 2006, against Hamburg, the Dragons won for the last time in Germany, in a match for the group stage of the Champions League; a summary of that match can be seen here (3-1). Since then, the blue and whites played three more times in Germany and the best they achieved was a three goals tie against Eintracht Frankfurt in 2013/14, which earned them a spot in the Round of 16 of the Europa League.

Leipzig is the eighth German opponent FC Porto will face on international stages. It is the youngest of the 32 clubs in the competition, the only team in Group G that doesn’t have any national championship title, but they were the biggest revelation of the 2016/17 Bundesliga, after finishing their debut season in the second place. A little more than eight years ago, Leipzig was called SSV Markranstädt and played in the lower divisions, when it was acquired by a multinational that sells a well-known energy drink. They were given wings and flew to the top of German football, bringing back to the main German division a city with a long and beautiful tradition in football, belonging to East Germany, a region where once reigned champions the likes of Dresden Dynamo or Magdeburg.

The team led by Ralph Hasenhüttl, a former international striker for Austria, arrives to this match moralized by a 3-2 away victory against Dortmund, which puts them in the third place of the league table, with 16 points earned from five victories, one tie and two defeats away. In the Champions League, they are still looking for their first victory, after a tie at home against Monaco (1-1) and a defeat against Besiktas in Turkey (0-2).

The next opponent’s lack of European experience was disregarded by Sérgio Conceição at the press conference, while praising “the above average individual level”, the “very strong” team and the strength of the opponent when playing at home. Next to the coach was Brahimi, who assured a FC Porto “eager” to play “a great match” and return to Portugal with three points.

With Paolo Tagliavento refereeing, the 12th match of FC Porto this season starts at 19h45, mainland Portugal time (RTP1 and SportTV), and will be previewed by Porto Canal starting at 18h00. The match can then be followed live on Facebook, Twitter, and the official FC Porto app. In the end, the analysis of the match will be made in Porto Canal, and www.fcporto.pt will have the report and statements of the coach and players.

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