·5 September 2022
·5 September 2022
Primeira Liga runners-up Sporting Clube de Portugal will visit Frankfurt on Wednesday as Eintracht take to the field in the Champions League for the first time.
The long wait is finally over. On Wednesday evening (kick-off 18:45 CEST), the UEFA Champions League anthem will ring out around the Frankfurt stadium for the first time as Eintracht host Sporting Clube de Portugal in their Group D opener.
The Eagles are the only side among the 32 participants to be competing in Europe’s premier club competition for the first time. Portuguese outfit Sporting, who qualified directly for the group stage after finishing runners-up to FC Porto in the Primeira Liga last season, are playing at this stage for the tenth time.
Last term, the Lions upset the odds by securing a second-place finish in a group containing Ajax, Borussia Dortmund and Besiktas, putting them through to the last 16 along with the Dutch club. They were then paired with Manchester City in the first knockout round and went down to Pep Guardiola’s side.
Champions League experience in midfield
Pedro Gonçalves, more commonly known as Pote, played a major role in helping the 19-time Portuguese champions and 17-time cup winners reach the knockout stages of the competition in 2021/22. The left winger, who joined Sporting in summer 2020, scored four Champions League goals last term – a club record for a single season.
Speaking of key performers, Frankfurt’s Mario Götze has by far the most experience of any player on either side, with 62 appearances in the competition to date. Jérôme Onguéné is currently on 13, while Kevin Trapp and Sebastian Rode are both on 12. For Sporting, Luis Neto and Sebastián Coates lead the way on 18 appearances each.
While Eintracht and Sporting are meeting for the first time this week, the Eagles have a perfectly balanced record against other clubs from Portugal, having registered two wins, two draws and two defeats from two games each against Benfica, Vitória Guimarães and Porto respectively. One of those twos will become three on Wednesday evening – preferably a third victory for Eintracht against Portuguese opposition and their first three points in Group D.
Kick-off: Wednesday 7 September, 18:45 CEST, UEFA Champions League, Matchday 1 Stadion: Frankfurt stadium, Frankfurt.
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