Created on 20-12-2008 at 00:00 AM
The Bayern camp was unanimously pleased with Friday’s draw for the Champions League first knockout round, as Sporting Lisbon hardly rated as the biggest name on the list of potential opposition, which included a clutch of the biggest clubs in England, Italy and Spain.
However, coach Jürgen Klinsmann and his men will in no way underestimate the Portuguese Cup holders and runners-up in the domestic league. Sporting rate as one of Portugal’s leading clubs of the last decade, although their total of 18 championship triumphs lags Porto (23) and city rivals Benfica (31).
Runners-up five times
Their last title was won back in 2001-2, although coach Paulo Bento’s side have claimed the Portuguese Cup twice in a row. After finishing second in the league five times in succession, Sporting have earned an unwanted reputation as perennial runners-up. Their European record is also fairly modest. Sporting made the UEFA Cup final in 2005, where they lost 3-1 to CSKA Moscow, although their greatest international triumph, winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup, dates back to 1964.
The side currently lying fourth in the league does hold one continental record, the largest margin of victory in a European tie – a 16-1 thrashing of Apoel Nikosia in 1964. Sporting finished second in their group behind Barcelona in this season’s Champions League, the Catalans running up 3-1 and 5-2 victories in the direct duels between the pair.