Champions League opponents overview

A flying mascot, a mistress and a fond reunion

The draw for the UEFA Champions League group stage is complete, and now is the time to analyse our opponents. Our boys will be preparing to take on the big-name sides over the coming months, after all.



Nothing sums up the Portuguese giants like Aguia Vitoria. That is not one of their many talented players, but Benfica's living club mascot. The bald eagle flies around the Estadio da Luz before every home performance of Os Encarnados – The Scarlets, as the club is known, before landing on the club emblem to complete it. The Lisbon club boast the second largest number of members in the world after Bayern Munich and hired Roger Schmidt last summer. Our former coach has led them back to the top in Portugal, becoming champions again last season for the first time in three years.


In Europe the twice European cup winners have impressed with two quarter final appearances in the past two seasons. Only Liverpool and Inter Milan got in their way. Ones to watch: defensive stalwart Nicolas Otamendi, pacy attacker Rafa and creative master Angel Di Maria.

Inter Milan


Do they need any introduction? Twice in recent months our paths have already crossed with the Nerazzurri in friendly matches, with our 3-4 defeat three weeks ago proving quite the thriller. The 2022/2023 UEFA Champions League finalists have been active in the transfer market, with Benjamin Pavard and the returning Marko Arnautovic two of the 13 new signings hoping to play their way into the hearts of the Inter faithful.


Hearts are often felt on the stands of the San Siro, with fans calling the club founded in the 1920s La Beneamata – the Mistress. That love is sure to blossom if Inzaghi's side extend their flawless start to the Serie A season in the coming weeks.

Real Sociedad


It was around 22:58 on 22 February 2018 when the final whistle sounded and our spot in the UEFA Europa League's last 32 was confirmed. Captain Alex Walke, Munas Dabbur & Co had beaten Real Sociedad 2-1 at home in the Red Bull Arena to win a thrilling clash 4-3 on aggregate. Plenty has gone on at both clubs since then, with the Basque side fresh from their best league campaign since 2003 – with 71 points enough for fourth place and a spot in the Champions League.

The side from San Sebastian may have been in pot four in the draw, but they are absolutely no European slouches - reaching the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League in each of the past three seasons. Just as they did back in 2018, briefly …

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