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UEFA Champions League Preview: Austria Vienna - Porto
UEFA Champions League Preview: Austria Vienna - Porto

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UEFA Champions League Preview: Austria Vienna - Porto

Austria Vienna begins its maiden voyage in the Champions League group stage with a home tie against Porto on Wednesday.

Although the Austrian champion has no previous experience in the competition in its current format, Vienna was European Cup semifinalists in 1979, while it has regularly appeared in the Europa League and its predecessor, the UEFA Cup, in which it was defeated in the second round by Jose Mourinho's Porto in 2002-03.

Nenad Bjelica's side has progressed through two rounds of qualifying before reaching the group phase, beating FH Hafnarfjordur of Iceland before squeezing past Dinamo Zagreb 4-3 on aggregate. Roman Kienast netted the all-important goal in the 82nd minute of the second leg to put Vienna through.

Vienna clinched the Austrian Bundesliga title last season for the first time since 2005-06, finishing five points clear of Red Bull Salzburg, but currently sits in fifth eight matches into the current campaign. The club heads into the Porto game on the back of two defeats and a draw in all competitions.

Porto, in comparison, has won all four of its league games and is currently top of the Primeira Liga.

The trip to Ernst-Happel-Stadion sees Paulo Fonseca's Porto return to the scene of the club's first European Cup success, as the Portuguese said beat Bayern Munich 2-1 in what was then the Praterstadion in 1987.

Under new coach Fonseca, Porto is set for its 18th Champions League campaign, matching Barcelona and Real Madrid and bettered only by Manchester United, which has appeared in 19. The club saw key players leave during the summer transfer window, though, and will need to adjust accordingly.

Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez both departed for Ligue 1, as they joined Monaco for a reported combined total of 70 million euros. The acquisitions of Mexican internationals Hector Herrera and Diego Reyes and – most notably – Juan Quintero have ensured the Portuguese champion remains an intriguing side.

Ahead of the start of their European campaign, Fonseca was relieved to pick up three points against Gil Vicente in a 2-0 win at the weekend before looking forward to Wednesday.

"Winning was the goal. The goal is always to win and achieved that once again in a week that will be difficult," Fonseca said. "We have the first round of the Champions League and it was important to win against a confident opponent."

Joining Porto and Vienna in Group G are Zenit St Petersburg and Atletico Madrid.

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