Sheriff Tiraspol and Braga resume their European campaigns on Thursday evening with the first leg of their playoff tie in the Europa League.
While the visitors progressed through to this stage courtesy of a second-placed finish in their group, Sheriff dropped down from the Champions League having finished third behind Real Madrid and Inter Milan.
Every season, Braga target breaking into the top three of Primeira Liga, winning a cup and reaching the latter stages of a European competition.
Sitting nine points adrift of third-placed Benfica and already out of both domestic cups, Carlos Carvalhal has been left to ensure that Os Arcebispos go deep in this tournament.
On the plus side, Braga have recently recorded three wins from four, including victory away at Sporting Lisbon, but a later defeat to Vitoria de Guimaraes effectively rendered that surprise result meaningless.
Progression through the group stages proved to be far more difficult than initially anticipated, the group favourites failing to defeat either Midtjylland and Red Star Belgrade in their final two fixtures to scrap over the line by a point.
Braga also lost two of their three matches on the road, and with a further three away defeats coming in their last five in Primeira Liga, Sheriff will sense that they have a real shot of causing another surprise.
Sheriff Tiraspol’s Sebastien Thill celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on October 19, 2021© Reuters
There is an argument that Sheriff have recorded the most memorable win of 2021-22, scoring a last-minute goal against Real Madrid to record a 2-1 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Sheriff ultimately failed to build on two successive victories at the start of their group, but finishing ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk tells their rivals in this competition that they should not be taken lightly.
Something which does not play into their favour is having not participated in a competitive fixture since December 11, a consequence of a prolonged mid-season break.
Sheriff currently hold a two-point advantage at the top of the standings after winning 14 of their 17 matches, while they also possess two games in hand on second-placed Petrocub.