Braga take on the visitors Napoli in the round 1 match of UEFA Champions League group stage. The match will be played on Tuesday, September 20th at Estádio Municipal de Braga (Braga).
Braga have confirmed its right to play at the highest level. The Archbishops didn't exactly exceed expectations last season, but they finished better than anyone would expect from this team #4 in Portuguese football. Under the guidance of Artur Jorge, they managed to outperform one of the big three, Sporting. While they didn't win bronze medals in Primeira Liga, it allowed them to enter the Champions League qualification. They breezed through it, comfortably dispatching not only the Serbian debutant, Bačka Topola but also Panathinaikos. They defeated the Greeks, who had previously eliminated Dnipro-1 and even Marseille, in both matches.
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Napoli changed its manager after the triumph. Partenopei can be considered the biggest revelation of the previous season, at least in Italian football. They also performed quite well in the Champions League. However, the most important achievement was the long-awaited and somewhat unexpected Serie A title, clinched with a considerable lead when everyone was already counting down to the official championship. Nevertheless, the team clearly lost its steam, and then Spalletti decided to leave, having secured the championship. However, it didn't turn into a tragedy, especially since they managed to avoid a mass exodus of stars in the summer. Rudy Garcia, as a coach, is quite competent, and he has experience working with ambitious Italian clubs in his biography.
The teams have never played each other in official matches. There was only a friendly encounter in 2012 when Napoli won 3-1. The Italians will be the favorites in this showdown, but they are playing away against a quite formidable opponent. Let's assume that the Portuguese won't lose at home.
Prediction for the match: Braga not to lose (1X).