FC Porto dream big after first domestic double
FC Porto are the current national champions and this season, they are dreaming big in the top-flight club competition. In 2019/20, FC Porto bet on continuity and stability – the same coach, the same players, redoubled ambition.
Three questions before the new season:
What do FC Porto want to achieve?
After conquering everything in Portugal in 2018/19, FC Porto want to achieve something historic in the Champions League. But it is going to be a difficult path, as they will take on Kielce, Veszprém, Vardar, Kiel, Motor, Montpellier and Meshkov Brest in Group B.
With just one newcomer, will the desired results be achieved?
FC Porto have a very balanced squad, with players full of talent and a great coach in the form of Magnus Andersson. Only one new player arrived (Ruben Ribeiro), and only Leandro Semedo left the club. With a strong 2018/19 season behind them, FC Porto have all the conditions to shine in the Champions League.
How important will the atmosphere in ‘Dragão Arena’ be?
This year, winning all games at home will be crucial for Porto to access the Last 16. Therefore, the atmosphere that lives inside this pavilion will always be important.
Under the spotlight: Antonio Areia
Antonio Areia had a very special season in 2018/19. The right wing has collected great performances for FC Porto and scored 56 goals in the last edition of the EHF Cup, culminating in a historic third place in the competition and the first double success in the history of the club (national championship and Portuguese Cup).
The cherry on the top of the cake happened most recently, as one of Areia’s goals in 2018/19 was voted best of the EHF Cup season. Areia breathes confidence.
The ‘dragons’ will have to be in the first six places in Group B to achieve their goal of a Last 16 berth, in what is an important year for Portuguese handball.
For 12 years, until FC Porto made their way back to the Champions League, Portugal had no teams in this competition. Therefore, the fact that both Porto and Sporting will play the top-flight competition is of great significance.
“We are very proud to reach a phase where we can play against the best teams in the world. We want to be in the Last 16,” says team captain Hugo Laurentino.
In 1998/99, FC Porto won the championship after a 31-year wait. They went on to become the only club to win that title seven times in a row, from 2008/09 to 2014/15.
Last season was the first time that FC Porto won the championship and the Portuguese Cup in the same year.
What the numbers say
FC Porto coach Andersson renewed his contract until the end of the 2021/22, adding two more years. If anyone had any doubts about the club’s satisfaction with the Swedish coach, who led the team to the AKQUINET EHF Cup Finals last season, they were all gone when this move was announced.
FC Porto Sofarma (POR)
Qualification for VELUX EHF Champions League 2019/20: Portuguese champions
Newcomers: Ruben Ribeiro (A. A. Avanca)
Left the club: Leandro Semedo (Anaitasuna)
Coach: Magnus Andersson (since 2018/19)
Team captain: Hugo Laurentino
VELUX EHF Champions League record:
Participations (including 2019/20 season): 10
Group phase (2): 2013/14, 2015/16
Qualification (7): 1999/00, 2004/05, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2014/15
Other EC records:
Semi-finals (1): 2018/19
Last 16 (3): 1998/99, 2010/11, 2011/12
Group phase (2): 2014/15, 2016/17
Cup Winners’ Cup:
Quarter-final (2): 2000/01, 2001/02
Last 16 (2): 1996/97, 2007/08
Portuguese league: 21 titles (1954, 1957-60, 1963-65, 1968, 1999, 2002-04, 2009-15, 2019)
Portuguese cup: 8 titles