Ah, homecoming. That wonderful American tradition — or is not strictly just a US thing? — of going back for a quick visit to your alma mater (university, but could be high school as well), usually in the fall, reconnecting with old friends, reminiscing about old times, showing off how much better your life is than theirs. You rent the flashy car, put on your Sunday best. Why yes, that is my vacation home and my dog can indeed talk.
Porto is where Mourinho graduated to the big time. He returns for the third time, all with Chelsea. He has yet to win on such an occasion.
"I just visited the museum before coming to the presser. The museum is absolutely amazing and when you are lucky to be a part of it it's very emotional. You realise you did something important, it's fulfilling. It turned my heart a bit softer so now I will go back to the hotel and get back in the mood again."
"I was here two years and a half and we won everything. It was the club that opened the doors to my international career."
-Jose Mourinho; source: UEFA
Better get back in the mood quick!
Date / Time: Tuesday, September 29, 2015, 19:45 BST; 2:45pm EDT; 12:15am IST (next day)
Venue: Estádio do Dragão, Porto, Portugal
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz — almost exactly a year ago, Mr. Lahoz took charge of our day out in Portugal. That 1-0 win against Sporting Lisbon (Matić scoring) remains his one and only Chelsea match. The 38-year-old referee's last three club matches refereed involved Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester United. Not a bad pedigree. He's not afraid of dishing out yellow cards, but he's only show one red (a second yellow) in his last eight matches.
Forecast: Sunny & warm. Obviously not quite so much at night though.
"Weather:" Driver on the Wing — "All the citizens of Porto have to hold onto today is their sun and their football."
On TV: BT Sport Europe (UK); Fox Sports regional networks (USA); Ten Action (India); elsewhere
Online: BT Sport Live (UK); Fox Soccer 2Go, ESPN3 (USA); Ten Sports Live (India)
FC Porto team news: Outside of the injury doubt surrounding star winger Yacine Brahimi, Porto have a clean bill of health. If the €60m-man Brahimi does play and he does score, we'll probably end up buying him — at least according to tabloid rumors. Porto will also have their manager back on the touchline after he served a one-match ban on matchday 1 following his dismissal from the dugout in last year's Champions League quarterfinal defeat to Bayern Munich.
That Champions League run was part of a trophy-less campaign last season, but as one of the biggest clubs in Portugal and even Europe, they will be expected to change that trend right quick. Lopetegui, who's been in charge for a little over a year, is off to a good start domestically, sitting atop the table, albeit just on goal difference after Friday's disappointing away draw to second-from-bottom Moreirense. (Sounds familiar!) Their first match in the Champions League also ended in a slightly disappointing 2-2 draw away to Dynamo Kiev.
Other than Mourinho's homecoming, the biggest story is the most unwelcome reunion of the ex-Real Madrid manager with the ex-Real Madrid goalkeeper. Both of them have played down the significance of this occasion, or their feud, for that matter, but that'll hardly stop anyone from talking about it. Incidentally, should Casillas play, and he's started every Porto match this season so far, he will become the all-time appearance leader in Champions League history with 152.
Porto have kept 14 clean sheets in their last 15 home Primeira Liga and Champions League matches. Bayern Munich were the only team to score in that span, and even they lost 3-1. Porto's last home defeat was back in December, a 2-0 reverse to rivals Benfica.
Chelsea team news: Our recent troubles stand in stark contrast with Porto's successes, though we are technically on a four-match unbeaten streak across all competitions. That includes the 4-0 win over Maccabi Tel-Aviv on matchday 1 of the group stages, which was the only win recorded by an English team (out of four) in that round.
Thibaut Courtois is the only absentee as he starts recovery from surgery on his meniscus. Diego Costa is available. He and Asmir Begović may be the only two nailed-on starters at this point.
Previously: Porto and Chelsea have not met in a competitive match in six years, and have only ever met six times overall, but the ties between the two clubs seem to run much deeper than that. Mostly thanks to Mourinho, probably, who brought along Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira when he first joined Chelsea. He later added Maniche on loan. A few years later, the cult hero that was (and still is) Raul Meireles joined us for a year as well, while the once heroic goal machine Falcao is currently here for at least a year. Chelsea have won three in a row against Porto, the last to both in 2009, both 1-0, and both on a goal from Nicolas Anelka.