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Champions League

Profile: Quarter-final opponents FC Porto

This season’s Champions League quarter-finals feature a reunion between FC Bayern and FC Porto. Germany’s most successful club have met the top Portuguese outfit five times in the past, with FCB winning two and losing one, and the other match ending in a draw. The teams last met in the 1999/2000 quarter-finals, with Bayern winning by a narrow 3-2 aggregate margin. fcbayern.de profiles the Reds’ last eight opponents.

History:

Futebol Clube do Porto, usually nicknamed The Dragons or Azul e branco (Blue & Whites), were founded in 1893 and have been bitter rivals to Lisbon giants Benfica and Sporting ever since. After years of steady growth, Porto won the national championship for the first time in 1935. The club won six further titles in the following half-century, before really moving into overdrive as of 1985.

Honours:

After record champions Benfica, Porto are Portugal’s second most successful club with 27 league titles, 16 domestic cup triumphs and the Supercup on 19 occasions. The Dragons have claimed the championship no fewer than 20 times since 1985. But the club from the port city are the nation’s number one on the European stage: Porto won the European Cup and then the Champions League in 1987 and 2004, and the UEFA Cup and then the Europa League in 2003 and 2011. No other club in Europe has won all four trophies in their form at the time. The Blue & Whites also won the World Club Cup in 1987 and 2004, and the UEFA Super Cup in 1987.

Stadium:

Porto’s Estádio do Dragão – Dragon Stadium –  was constructed for the EURO 2004 tournament and is the successor to the Estádio das Antas, the club’s home for more than 50 years. The current arena has not yet been filled to its capacity of just over 50,000 in the Champions League this season.

Champions League record:

Porto currently lie ninth in UEFA’s all-time European Cup/Champions League table after making 29 appearances and winning the trophy in 1987 (against FC Bayern) and 2004. Porto most recently made it to the last eight in 2008/09 and the current campaign is their fifth tilt at the quarter-finals, although the Portuguese only progressed once, on their way to winning the trophy in 2004.

The Dragons are undefeated in this year’s competition, comfortably winning Group H with four wins and two draws. They played Basel in the last sixteen, drawing 1-1 in Switzerland before easily winning 4-0 at home. Porto have scored 21 and conceded only five in the competition this term, and also posted their biggest-ever Champions League win, a 6-0 thrashing of BATE Borisov.

Current state of play:

With 25 games played, Porto lie second in the Portuguese table, four points off double winners Benfica. The Blue & Whites had won the title nine times since 2003 but failed to collect silverware in 2013/14, and are still determined to claim league title number 28. Five days after the return away to FC Bayern, the men from the north-west travel to Lisbon for the potentially decisive clash with Benfica.

Coach:

Julen Lopetegui took the helm in July 2014. The 48-year-old Spaniard was previously a youth coach with his national association, leading the U-19s to the European championship in 2012 and the U-21s to the same crown a year later. The former keeper played for Castilla CF, Real Madrid, Las Palmas, CD Logroñés, Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano. However, he was only ever backup keeper at Real (1988-1991) and Barca, where he was Pep Guardiola’s team-mate from 1994 to 1997.

Key players:

The best-known players are forwards Ricardo Quaresma, Cristian Tello and Colombian Jackson Martínez. The midfield strings are pulled by Brazilian Casemiro, Mexican Hector Herrera and Algerian Yacine Brahimi, who can also play up front. Martínez and Brahimi are both on five goals in Europe so far this term, with Herrera on three.

Tactics:

Coach Lopetegui generally favours an attacking 4-3-3 formation, with FCB-style possession and short-passing both important tactical components. Lopetugui likes to vary his attacking options by rotating between Brahimi, Vincent Aboubakar of Cameroon, Colombian Juan Quintero or Spaniard Adrian Lopez.

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