TP Mazembe look to extend remarkable continental run vs. SuperSport United
While clubs from North Africa are often lauded for their exploits in club competitions on the continent, no side has been as successful in the last few years as Democratic Republic of Congo outfit Tout Puissant Mazembe.
Mazembe will have another shot at a title when they take on South African side SuperSport United in the final of this year's CAF Confederation Cup, of which they are also the current holders.
They host SuperSport in the first leg of the final on Sunday, before the return to be played in Pretoria on November 25.
Since 2009, the Lubumbashi-based side have claimed the CAF Champions League on three occasions, the Confederation Cup once and been victorious in the Super Cup three times.
It means they have won a major trophy every other year on average, a magnificently consistent run of form that others cannot match.
Throw in a runners-up place at the FIFA Club World Cup and they are a team that has enjoyed enormous success.
With their home base at the Stade TP Mazembe, which was opened in 2011, becoming a fortress, they have an excellent conversation rate in finals too, with their only blemish in recent times a 2013 loss in the Confederation Cup decider to Tunisian side CS Sfaxien.
The success of the club has been built around the financial muscle of its president Moise Katumbi, who was governor of the Katanga Province in the DR Congo before his resignation in 2015.
He has not only been able to attract quality African players to his club, but also retain his top stars by offering them salaries above what they would earn in Europe.
Katumbi has strong ties to both Zambia and Ghana, two countries that have supplied a great deal of talent to Mazembe over the last decade, although they also have players from Mali and Ivory Coast, and briefly even signed former Belgian international Anthony Vanden Borre earlier this year.
Their run to the final in 2017 has once again centred on their home form, where they have won five of their six games, the only blemish a 2-2 draw with SuperSport in the pool phase of the competition.
They are unbeaten away from home as well, though their six games have resulted in four draws and just two wins. Their visit to Pretoria to face SuperSport ended 0-0.
Remarkably, Les Corbeaux have in fact never lost a home game in the Confederation Cup, their 23 games ending in 21 victories and only 12 goals conceded.
SuperSport are only the second side ever to score two goals away at Mazembe in the competition after ES Setif in 2013, though the Algerians lost the match 4-2.
Mazembe are sweating on the fitness of Mali centre-back Salif Coulibaly for Sunday, but should otherwise have a full fit squad.
They will again rely on the goals of forward Ben Malango, who netted a brace as they started their 2017/18 domestic league season with a 2-0 win over Ecofoot Katumbi on Monday.
He has also netted six goals in the Confederation Cup campaign to date, second only to SuperSport's New Zealand striker Jeremy Brockie, who has 10.