Thai League 1 side Buriram United travel to the Saitama Stadium 2002 in Japan to face Urawa Red Diamonds in their first group game of the AFC Champions League 2019 on Wednesday.
Buriram are placed in Group G of the continental competition along with Urawa Reds, Jeonbuk Hyundai and Beijing Guoan and are looking to improve on their Round of 16 appearance from the last season.
Here are five key facts ahead of the Thunder Castles’ AFC Champions League 2019 opener..
1) The Red Devils’ Champions League pedigree!
The J.League club are making their seventh appearance in the AFC Champions League this season!
They have won the competition twice in only six previous participations — in 2007 when they defeated IR Iran’s Sepahan 3-1 on aggregate and then 10 years later in 2017 when they defeated Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal SC 2-1 on aggregate.
2) Buriram’s domestic troubles!
The new Thai League season began in the final week of February, but the defending champions of the league are yet to register a win after two games played.
In their opener, they were held to a 2-2 draw by 10-man Chonburi FC before playing out a goalless stalemate against Suphanburi FC last Friday.
3) Thai club’s Round of 16 heartbreak last season
Buriram United look to build last season’s strong showing in the AFC Champions League
Buriram United are taking part in the AFC Champions League for the seventh time in their history, but have never progressed beyond the quarterfinal stage.
Last season, that finished ahead of Korea Republic’s Jeje Untied and Japan’s Cerezo Osaka to progress from the group stages along with China’s Guangzhou Evergrande!
In the Round of 16, they defeated Jeonbuk 3-2 in the home leg, but suffered a 2-0 defeat in South Korea to crash out 4-3 on aggregate!
4) Buriram’s resurgence in ACL in recent times
The Thunder Castles have won thrice and lost only once in their last six games in the AFC Champions League — including wins over Jeonbuk, Cerezo and Jeje.
This is as many wins as they had in the 15 games prior in the competition — Three wins, four draws and eight losses.
5) The Reds’ incredible form at home
Urawa Reds are almost unbeatable at their home in Saitama in ACL.
They have won their last eight home games in the Champions League, keeping a clean sheet in five of them. This is their best ever run of consecutive home victories in the competition.
Looks like Buriram have their work cut out against the Reds on Wednesday!
(Facts via Opta)