Group H preview: Homegrown goods, the little dentist and a geography lesson
The Portuguese side will be desperate to progress through to the knockout stages so their squad can be shorn of its star players by Chelsea. The fans still dream of a repeat of 2004’s miracle, when Jose Mourinho led Porto to glory before being poached by Chelsea, and many have fond memories of Andre Villas-Boas lifting the 2011 Europa League before being poached by Chelsea.
Did you know? The Portuguese name ‘Porto’ roughly translates as ‘Port, oh?’ in English.
Donetsk can be a hard place to go, but none of Shakhtar's games will be held there - they will be in Lviv, which changes everything. Pretty much all of Shakhtar’s players are Brazilian and there’s a fierce team spirit generated from a united desire to leave the club as soon as possible.
Did you know? Forward Dentinho’s nickname translates as ‘the little dentist’ because he is a trained dental hygienist.
They may be limited by their insistence on choosing homegrown players rather than shop-bought ones, but Athletic's current crop could be blended into an appetising group stage gazpacho. After that they’ll start to go off and probably create a musky aroma while sweatily exiting in the last 16.
Did you know? Despite their name, Athletic Bilbao are no more ‘athletic’ than many other sides in the competition. They are from Bilbao though.
Having stunned Bayern Munich back in 2012/13, BATE certainly shouldn’t be underestimated. On the other hand, the Belarusians usually lose most of their games, so they certainly shouldn’t be overestimated. As long as they are accurately estimated, BATE should politely exit the competition in the first round, sparing armchair fans from checking where exactly they are from.
Did you know? The abbreviation BATE was introduced when fans struggled to find any chants that could fit original name Borisov Works of Automobile and Tractor Electric Equipment.
- Group A: Simeone the strangler, March of the Penguins and Nietzsche
- Group B: Liverpool hunt early exit, Ludogorets need supervision
- Group C: Peter Pan, second-best bridesmaids and unpopular billionaires
- Group D: Arsenal already winners, Klopp's secret vice and no Didier Drogba
- Group E: Crystal Palace in disguise, UEFA's new rule and struggling Cole
- Group F: European supervillains, kitty cannon fodder and Kaka's new face
- Group G: Mourinho's nemeses, Chelsea's surplus stars and smarting Sporting