Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes is relishing the “mouth-watering” prospect of a trip to Portugal to face Sporting Lisbon.
The Dons will face the Portuguese side in the Europa League’s third qualifying round on September 24 if they defeat Viking in Norway the week before.
McInnes said: “The game in Stavanger is going to be a tough game.
“Ideally, we would have been at home, but we have to deal with it.
“Of the three teams we could have faced, we are up against the team from the strongest league.
“The incentive is there for both teams to get through and play Sporting Lisbon, which is a mouth-watering and exciting tie.
“It is just a pity the supporters won’t be allowed into that, but we just need to get through the first one and that will be a tough game.
“They are up and running in their league, but we are starting to find a rhythm
ourselves and more strength in the legs and as a consequence the performances have been better.
“Hopefully we can have something similar against Kilmarnock before going into the Viking game.”
The Dons have faced Portuguese opposition in European football on only one occasion, losing 2-0 on aggregate against Porto in the semi-finals of the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1984.
How good are Sporting?
Champions of Portugal 18 times, Sporting Club De Portugal finished fourth in the Premeira Liga last season.
Managed by former Portugal international manager Ruben Amorim, 35, Sporting have a rich history in Europe.
They reached the final of the Uefa Cup in 2005 – losing 3-1 to CSKA Moscow.
In 1964, Sporting won the European Cup Winners’ Cup with a 1-0 replay defeat of MTK Budapest.
Last season, they reached the knock-out stages of the Europa League, having finished second in their group.
In that group stage they defeated PSV Eindhoven 4-0, a team Aberdeen could have landed in the third qualifying round.
Ultimately Sporting lost out to Istanbul Basaksehir FK in the round of 32 last season, despite a 3-1 first-leg home win.
They crashed 4-1 in Turkey after extra time to exit 5-4 on aggregate.
However, should Aberdeen progress past Viking FK they could face a Sporting side minus a star winger, as Tottenham Hotspur have reportedly approached them over a possible £18 million summer deal for Jovane Cabral.
The 22-year-old missed a large chunk of last season through injury, but impressed after returning to fitness, scoring six goals and creating three more in 16 league outings.
Amid Sporting Lisbon’s ranks are Uruguay international defender Sebastián Coates, the club captain.
Capped 39 times by his country, Coates won the Copa America with Uruguay and also starred for Liverpool.
In attack, Sporting boast Argentinean international Marcos Acuña, capped 27 times by his country.