On Tuesday, 03.10.2023, 1. FC Union Berlin will face Portuguese side Sporting Braga in the next match in their UEFA Champions League campaign. Kick off at Berlin's Olympiastadion is at 18:45.
Sporting Clube de Braga are regulars on the international stage and have been represented in Europe without interruption since the 2004/05 season. The Portuguese side qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 2010, finishing 3rd in a group that included Shakhtar Donetsk, Arsenal and FK Partizan before ultimately reaching the Europa League final, which they narrowly lost 1-0 to FC Porto.
Last season, Braga finished third in the Primeira Liga and qualified for the group stage of the most important European club competition with victories over Serbian representatives Bačka Topola and Panathinaikos. Artur Jorge's team are currently in 5th place in the Portuguese top flight after seven matches, having most recently celebrated a 4-2 victory at recently promoted Estrela Amadora.
Coach Jorge is an undoubted club legend. The 51-year-old was born in Braga, wore the red and white jersey as a player and has already been on the sidelines at U15, U19 and U23 levels. He has been head coach of the first team since June 2022. In the summer, Jorge strengthened his team with, among others, left winger Bruma from Fenerbahce, midfielder Rodrigo Zalazar from FC Schalke 04 and former Portuguese international João Moutinho, who returned to his homeland after five years with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Union’s centre-back Diogo Leite was on loan to Braga from FC Porto for the 2021/22 season. The Portuguese made a total of 34 competitive appearances for Sporting before moving to the German capital.
The head to head
Union and Braga met twice before in last year's Europa League group stage. In the first leg, Sporting won by a narrow 1-0 margin, for which Union took revenge at the Alte Försterei, also 1-0.
Rani Khedira, Robin Knoche and Laurenz Dehl are unavailable against Braga due to injury.
The coaches’ views ahead of the game
"After returning from Heidenheim, we regenerated as best we could and briefly analysed the game again,” said Union’s head coach Fischer during his press conference on Monday afternoon. “Now we have to stay positive to get out of this negative spiral. We have to be more compact and efficient against Braga than in recent games. We have to play the basics and do the simple things right. If we work hard to create so many chances, we must also reap the rewards."
He added: "You have to look forward to the backdrop. We know exactly how important our fans are for us. Playing in front of more than 70,000 of our own fans tomorrow can be important for the players. In games like this you need the 12th man, but first and foremost the boys have to do their job."
The Olympiastadion will opens its gates at 16:15. Over 73,000 Unioners will be there to support their team at the Olympiastadion, and therefore are advised to arrive early to avoid long queues at the entrances. Further information about the trip to Charlottenburg, as well as a letter to fans from the police, can be found here.
The match will be broadcast live on DAZN, and there will also be an audio stream on rbb24 Inforadio and rbb24.de. As usual, Union will also provide information on the match via the club's own live ticker, as well as in English and Spanish on Twitter