Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 May, 2004, 08:20 GMT 09:20 UK
Outsiders chase Euro glory
Porto and Monaco will meet on Wednesday to compete for the honour of being champions of Europe.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL
FC Porto v Monaco
Date: Wednesday, 26 May
Kick-off: 1945 BST
Venue: Arena Auf Schalke, Gelsenkirchen
Commentary on BBC Five Live and updates on this website
Both teams entered the competition as unfancied outsiders but, guided by gifted young managers, have constantly defied the odds to reach the final.
Porto coach Jose Mourinho and Monaco boss Didier Deschamps have both been linked with top European clubs.
But on Wednesday one will leave the Arena Auf Schalke, Germany having completed a remarkable victory.
Mourinho has already tasted European honours, having taken Porto to victory in last season's Uefa Cup.
Champions League success would eclipse that achievement and is one of the reasons why Chelsea have been strongly linked with the 41-year-old.
Deschamps' Monaco finished third in their domestic league but have the chance to become the first club from the French league to win the European Cup since Marseille in 1993.
Monaco's only injury concern is striker Fernando Morientes, who has been suffering from a sprained ankle.
The Spanish forward was substituted during Monaco's last league game but Morientes is expected to play.
Mourinho has no new injury problems and is expected to be able to name a full-strength team.
Derlei Silva and Benni McCarthy are expected to start in attack, with Porto's influential playmaker Deco Souza sitting behind them.
Head to head
This will be the first encounter between the two sides in European competition, although both have played against same-country opponents before.
For AS Monaco, it will be only their fifth meeting with a Portuguese side since 1989, when they drew 1-1 with Belenenses in the European Cup Winners' Cup.
Their last meeting against a Portuguese side was back in 1997 when they beat Sporting CP 3-2 in the CL group stages.
They do have a sound record from their four matches against Portuguese opposition however, having won two matches, drawn one and lost one - giving them a win ratio of 50%.
FC Porto's record against French opposition is comparable, as they can also claim a win ratio of 50%, although they have achieved this over a longer stretch of matches than AS Monaco - 18 matches compared to four.
FC Porto's overall record is nine wins, five draws and four defeats.
José Mourinho's team has had a good look at French opposition already this season, remaining unbeaten against Uefa Cup runners-up Olympique Marseille and French champions Olympique Lyon at different stages of their CL campaign.
This is the 'final that never was' after both clubs failed at the semi-final stage (they were both beaten 3-0) when attempting to make the CL's ultimate match in 1994.
FC Porto's current ten-match unbeaten European streak - running from October 2003 - is not only a club record, but is equal to the Portuguese record, held by Benfica, that was set during the 1982/83 season.
This is the current Portuguese champions' fourth European final and they can boast a better than even two wins from those previous three appearances.
FC Porto's best result in the premier European competition however was in the 1986/87 season when they overcame Bayern Munich 2-1 to win the then Champions Cup. As this was their only appearance in the final of that competition, they currently hold a 100% record.
Prior to this season's successful campaign, the furthest they'd gone in the Champions League was the semi-final in the 1993/94 season when they lost 3-0 to Barcelona.
Their most recent European final success was the victory in last season's Uefa Cup, when they needed extra time to beat Celtic 3-2 in Seville.
Portuguese clubs have won the Champions Cup/Champions League three times from eight appearances.
This will be only the second time that AS Monaco have contested a European final and the very first time they've made it to the apex match in the continent's premier competition.
As yet however, they have no European silverware to boast of, after going down 2-0 to Werder Bremen in Lisbon in the 1992 Cup Winners' Cup final.
This is AS Monaco's best ever CL performance. Previously they'd made the semi-finals on two occasions, being beaten 3-0 by eventual champions AC Milan in 1994, and 6-4 (on agg) to Juventus in 1998.
French clubs have one of the worst records in Champions Cup/Champions League finals with only one champion from five previous attempts.
Player and disciplinary information
FC Porto midfielder Costinha is not only a former AS Monaco player, but he also captained the side during his four-season spell in Monte Carlo between 1997 and 2001.
A player that made the trip in the other direction is Argentine defender Hugo Ibarra who is (via a spell back in Argentina with Boca Juniors) on loan to AS Monaco from FC Porto. He failed to settle in Portugal during his one season with the club in 2001/02.
There are no bans to be served by the players of either club, so there's no suspension headaches for the coaches going into the final.
Between them, the final's two teams have - in terms of yellow cards - supplied the CL's four most indisciplined players. AS Monaco's Lucas Bernardi is joined at the top of the bookings list by FC Porto's Jorge Costa, Costinha and Deco, who have all gone into the referee's book on four occasions.
AS Monaco also have within their ranks the player with the most red cards. Greek midfielder Andreas Zikos is the only player in the 2003/04 CL to have received two red cards. FC Porto haven't as yet had a player dismissed.
Four players have so far completed every minute (1,080) of their side's 12 CL matches so far. FC Porto have three '100-per-centers' - Ricardo Carvalho, Vitor Baía and Paulo Ferreira, while AS Monaco's sole start to finish ever-present is Julien Rodriguez.
French midfielder Edouard Cissé is the only other player in both squads who has also appeared in all 12 of AS Monaco's matches, however he's only completed six full matches and 781 minutes of action in total.
AS Monaco have the 2003/04 competition's two most lethal strikers in their squad, with Fernando Morientes (nine goals) and Dado Prso (seven goals) first and second respectively on the top scorer's list.
By contrast, FC Porto's highest-ranked player is Benni McCarthy (four goals), who shares ninth place with ten other players (one of which is AS Monaco's Ludovic Giuly).
In terms of CL experience, FC Porto are way out ahead of their French opponents. The Portuguese side's squad have in a total of 413 CL appearances to their credit - AS Monaco have 273.
Conversely, AS Monaco have, in Fernando Morientes, one of the competition's most experienced and successful strikers in their arsenal. His tally of 26 CL goals ranks him as the eighth highest-scoring player in Champions Cup/Champions League history.
Moreover, his 26-goal personal total is the equivalent to a staggering 74% of the total number of goals (35) scored by the entire FC Porto squad.
Other miscellaneous facts
Fernando Morientes can become the 12th player to win the Champions Cup/Champions League with at least two different clubs. He was victorious with Real Madrid in 1998, 2000 and 2002.
If AS Monaco win the Champions League, Morientes will be the first player ever to win the competition on four separate occasions. He is currently one of six players to have won it three times.
Morientes will also become the fifth player to play in four Champions League finals - the others are Didier Deschamps (1993, 1996, 1997, 1998), Edgar Davids (1995, 1996, 1998, 2003), Alessandro del Piero (1996, 1997, 1998, 2003) and Paolo Maldini (1993, 1994, 1995, 2003).
FC Porto goalkeeper Vito Baía will become the eighth oldest goalkeeper to play a Champions Cup/Champions League final should he play.
He will be the second oldest goalkeeper to play in the final since the competition became the Champions League in 1992/1993. Only Peter Schmeichel (Manchester United 1999) was older.
FC Porto striker Carlos Alberto will enter the top ten youngest outfield players in a Champions Cup/Champions League final should he take the field of play against AS Monaco. He will, in fact, be the ninth youngest ever.
He will be the fifth youngest since the competition became the Champions League in 1992/1993. The four younger players were all from Ajax:- Nwankwo Kanu, Patrick Kluivert and Clarence Seedorf (1995) and Kiki Musampa (1996).
FC Porto are the eighth team to reach the Champions League final despite not winning their group. Only three of these have won in the final.
During his successful international swansong for France at Euro 2000, AS Monaco coach Didier Deschamps (and then captain of France) lined up against three of the players that now stand between him and more European glory. Vitor Baía, Jorge Costa and Costinha were all in opposition to Deschamps in a stormy semi-final when France overcame Portugal 2-1 with a golden goal, en route to the Euro 2000 title.
Olympique Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain both won their respective league matches on Sunday which means that AS Monaco will - should they lose the CL final - have to qualify for next season's CL through the third qualifying round.