Sporting Clube de Portugal endured a mixed first period of the season, so are playing catch-up.
Rúben Amorim’s team actually lost four of their 13 Primeira Liga matches before the World Cup, most recently going down 1-0 at Arouca.
This leaves Sporting down in fourth, a whopping 12 points below run-away league-leaders Benfica.
Incidentally, those two meet on 15 January in the first Derby de Lisboa of the season.
During the break, the Leões were busy, reaching the Taça da Liga semi-finals.
Sporting won all three group games, scoring 13 goals and conceding zero, before demolishing Braga 5-0 nine days ago.
They’ll face Arouca at Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa next month, seeking to reach the final and, ultimately, retain the trophy they claimed 12 months earlier.
Here, Sporting’s league campaign resumes, so will they claim three important points?
As for Paços de Ferreira, they finished fifth just 18 months ago, but now find themsleves rock bottom of the table.
Amazingly, the Beavers are still yet to win this season, yielding a measly two points from their 13 matches to date.
They’ve already changed manager twice this season, with César Peixoto sacked on 16 October and then José Mota given the boot 13 days ago.
The latter failed to win any of his seven matches in charge, and was dispensed with after Paços’ Taça da Liga elimination.
All in all, an emphatic home victory should be on the cards at Estádio José Alvalade.