Boss Derek McInnes has challenged Aberdeen to produce the game of their lives to deliver an historic win in Lisbon.
The Dons tonight face Portuguese giants Sporting in the Europa League third qualifying round.
Although underdogs, McInnes believes they can pull off a memorable shock win to book a spot in the play-offs.
McInnes said: “We need to have the game of our lives.
“We need to do so many things right, get the balance between defence and attack and land some blows.
“There must be full concentration as we will be against a team who are well-drilled and have a lot of speed and power.
“They are experienced in the right areas and have talented youngsters.
“Sporting are a top European side and the challenge of the tie is exciting.
“We were desperate this time last week to face them and told the players to make sure they are on that plane to Portugal.
“It is not every year you can say that in your career you are playing against Sporting Lisbon.”
Should Aberdeen triumph tonight they will face LASK of Austria or Slovakia’s Dunajska Streda in a one-legged play-off at Pittodrie a week today.
If Aberdeen win that play-off, qualification for the group stages will be secured.
Reaching the groups brings a prize payment of £2.7m, which would be vital at a time when the club is hemorrhaging money due to the pandemic.
Aberdeen projected losses of £10m due to the coronavirus, but that was reduced to £3.8m by wage cuts, fresh investment and season ticket sales.
McInnes said: “To get to the group stages is worth a lot financially, which is much-needed.
“We all recognise and look at other opponents we could have had in terms of giving us the best chance to progress.
“However, Sporting are one of Europe’s marquee clubs and we have the opportunity to take them on.
“Like any cup competition you normally have to play a stronger opponent as you get through.
“That is the case tonight and if we can beat a team like Sporting and have a home tie, it will give us unbelievable confidence going into that game at Pittodrie next week.
“That is what is at stake for us and we will try to take that opportunity.”
Sporting were rocked by a Covid-19 outbreak, with nine players and manager Ruben Amorim all ruled out of the tie as they are self-isolating.
Sporting relocated to the Algarve for a training camp in a bid to control the outbreak and have returned negative tests on those in the camp.
Aberdeen will only find out for definite today if the tie will go ahead following a fresh batch of tests on Sporting yesterday.
McInnes said: “My staff have tried to get a handle on them to try to give the players the best chance to win the game and make it a memorable night.
“It is 90 minutes, cup football, and we have a chance, there is no doubt about that.
“That is the way we are looking at it. Sporting know about the European game, have a lot of technical players who positionally know where they need to be at the right time.
“We want to still be in the competition and for that to happen we need to play the game of our lives and have so many things go right for us.”
Tonight will be Sporting’s first game of the season having had their league opener with Gil Vicente on Saturday postponed by Portuguese health authorities due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
McInnes admits that has made it more problematic to get squad details, although he is confident of the formation they will go with in Lisbon tonight.
He said: “The manager came in back in March and changed the system.
“So yes, we can maybe second guess that team and get a handle on who may or may not play.
“But he’s pretty consistent in his system – and that gives us an indication of how they will play.”
Sporting’s 50,090-capacity stadium will be empty tonight as Uefa have deemed all qualifying round ties will be behind closed doors due to the pandemic.
McInnes said: “We all recognise the importance of revenue from games in Europe, getting through the rounds.
“But obviously a lot of European games are sold out at Pittodrie.
“We won’t have that if we get through, even though we will get some finance.”
Aberdeen jetted out to Portugal minus striker Curtis Main and midfielder Dean Campbell, who has suffered a broken foot.
McInnes said: “Dean Campbell has broken the second metatarsal on his right foot, so he’ll be out for four to six weeks.
“Curtis Main is left back in Aberdeen as well, having been stop-start with this thigh strain.
“Obviously with Ryan Edmondson being fully fit, it gives Curtis time to deal with that situation.”