Sporting CP and Benfica will go head to head in Lisbon in the UEFA Futsal Champions League elite round, starting Wednesday.
Elite round groups
Group A (14–17 November): Inter FS (ESP, holders), Dobovec (SVN), Halle-Gooik (BEL), Vytis (LTU, hosts)
Group B (15–18 November): TTG-Ugra Yugorsk (RUS), Barça (ESP, hosts), Ekonomac Kragujevac (SRB), Record Bielsko-Biała (POL)
Group C (15–18 November): Benfica (POR), Sporting CP (POR, hosts), Sibiryak (RUS), Novo Vrijeme Makarska (CRO)
Group D (14–17 November): Kairat Almaty (KAZ), EP Chrudim (CZE, hosts), LSM Lida (BLR), AS Futsal Pescara (ITA)
- The four group winners will progress to the knockout finals, with one of those clubs appointed hosts for the event on 25 or 26 and 27 or 28 April.
- Inter are aiming for a record third title in a row and sixth overall.
- Former champions Ugra and Barça are matched.
- Barça beat Ekomomac 3-2 in last season’s elite round.
- 2010 winners Benfica and three-time runners-up Sporting have met in 12 Portuguese play-off finals but never in Europe.
- Sporting CP have reached three finals, losing the last two to Inter.
- Twice champions Kairat have been ever present in all 13 elite rounds under this format; Chrudrim are in their 11th but are yet to reach the finals (and have lost to Kairat four times in this round).
- Kairat beat Lida 6-0 in the main round.
- Kairat and Chrudim’s opponents AS Futsal Pescara are the seventh different Italian side to reach the elite round, one more than Ukraine.
- Novo Vrijeme and Sibiryak, in Benfica and Sporting’s group, are the other two competition debutants remaining.
- Preliminary round survivors Vytis are the first Lithuanian team to reach the elite round, the 32nd different nation to be represented.
- Record Bielsko-Biała, who also came through the preliminary round, have also reached the elite round for the first time.