Wolves vs Braga: Europa League preview
Team news, key stats and predictions ahead of Wolves vs Braga as the Europa League group stage commences.
Wolves welcome back Willy Boly after the defender served a one-match suspension in the Premier League over the weekend.
Ryan Bennett could also be recalled at the expense of Jesus Vallejo, who struggled during the 5-2 defeat by Chelsea at Molineux.
Nuno Espirito Santo must decide between Matt Doherty and Adama Traore at right wing-back, while Jonny Otto and Ruben Vinagre could be rotated at left wing-back.
Braga boss Ricardo Sa Pinto has plenty of options at his disposal. Andre Horta could be drafted back into the midfield in place of Paulinho.
Former Fulham striker Rui Fonte may have to settle for a place among the substitutes.
This will be the first ever competitive meeting between Wolves and Braga.
Wolves have won five of their six previous meetings with Portuguese opponents (L1), though all of those came between 1971 and 1974.
Braga have only won one of their eight away matches against English opposition (D2 L5), beating Birmingham 3-1 in the 2011-12 Europa League.
Braga have never lost their opening group stage game in the Europa League before, winning three and drawing one. All three of those wins have come in away games.
This is Wolves’ first appearance in a major European competition since the 1980-81 UEFA Cup. They won all six of their Europa League qualifiers this season, netting 19 goals, with Diogo Jota having a hand in eight of those goals (3 goals, 5 assists).
Charlie Nicholas’ prediction
Nuno Espirito Santo will want to get one over on the Portuguese side. Braga are always dangerous but do not travel well. Are Wolves caught up in the emotion of the Europa League? They took their foot off the pedal in Premier League as they were thumped by Chelsea.
They were blown away at the weekend and it was very unlike them to concede five and make so many mistakes. They need to get back to basics and get a win in in the Premier League, but Nuno will take this seriously and I expect Wolves to be too strong here, getting off to a fine start in the group stages.