After a difficult start against Marseille, Groningen continue their Europa League campaign with a trip to face Braga in Portugal.

mahi groGroningen were outclassed 3-0 by Marseille in the opening group game, and their first Europa League campaign doesn’t get any easier as they travel to Portugal on Thursday to face in-form Braga.

Currently sitting third in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, Braga have won four of their last five games including a 1-0 win at Slovan Liberec two weeks ago, while Groningen are eighth in the Eredivisie after their 2-0 defeat to Ajax at the weekend.

Braga will be looking for their first win in Europe on home soil since 2011, while Groningen are hoping for their first ever away win in Europe, having drawn two and lost two in their previous four attempts.

Team News

Groningen are without influential centre back Rasmus Lindgren, who has an ankle injury, but Michael de Leeuw returns to the squad after being rested against Ajax.

Possible Groningen line-up: Padt, Hateboer, Burnet, Kappelhof, Reijnen, Maduro, Tibbling, De Leeuw, Rusnak, Linssen, Hoesen

Braga have defensive worries heading into the game with  Baiano, André Pinto, and Ricardo Ferreira all injured. Youngster Jose Gomes has been added to the squad as coach Paolo Fonseca weighs up his options.

Possible Braga line-up: Kritsuyk, Boly, Gomes, Goiano, D Ferreira, Mauro, Vukcevic, Silva, Alan, Fonte, Stojiljkovic

Head to Head

Groningen and Braga have never met before, but the Dutch side lost their only previous tie in Portugal, 3-0 to Vitoria SC, while Braga have won two and lost two in the four previous matches against teams from the Netherlands.

Key Players

Bryan Linssen

Since joining from Heracles in the summer, Linssen has been one of Groningen’s brightest attacking threats this season, netting two goals so far in the Eredivisie. Braga will look to take the initiative on Thursday and Linssen’s pace on the wing will be crucial on the counter attack if Groningen are to create chances.

Nikola Stojiljkovic

The Serbian forward has netted five goals for the club since arriving in the summer and he is likely to start through the middle against Groningen on Thursday. With Rasmus Lindgren missing, it will be up to Reijnen and Kappelhof to keep the dangerous Stojilkovic quiet

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