Sporting Braga vs Union Berlin

Sporting Braga’s hopes of reaching the Champions League group stages are on the line as they encounter out-of-sorts Union Berlin at the Estádio Municipal de Braga.

Braga’s chances of making it out of Group C are hanging by a thread after a 3-0 defeat at Real Madrid last time out left them three points adrift of second-placed Napoli. Anything other than a victory against the Union Berlin side they’ve defeated 3-2 in the reverse fixture despite trailing 2-0 would be fatal to Braga’s bid to fashion a late comeback. But even that wouldn’t be enough if Napoli beat Madrid in the other Group C contest, which does look unlikely. Artur Jorge’s team should be confident about holding up their end of the bargain after going unbeaten in four of their last five home outings (W3, D1). Porous defense could stand in the way, though, with ‘Os Arcebispos’ only managing one clean sheet at home this term.

In the meantime, Union Berlin’s start to life under new manager Nenad Bjelica didn’t go to plan as they failed to arrest a humiliating 14-game winless run under former boss Urs Fischer, drawing 1-1 at home against Augsburg. Bereft of confidence, the Germans’ maiden appearance in the Champions League group stages seems destined for a fiasco as they start this round bottom of Group C with a single point (D1, L3). If it’s any consolation, they scooped up their first points at Europe’s top table after a three-game losing streak last time out, holding Napoli to a spirited 1-1 draw in Italy. That doesn’t change the fact ‘Die Eisernen’ have lost 13 of their 15 competitive away matches since the start of September (D2).

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