Fernando Santos faces a tall order to win his opening EURO 2016 qualifier as Portugal boss with his side visiting Denmark next Wednesday morning (AEDT).
Santos was appointed as Paulo Bento's replacement last month after Portugal's humiliating 1-0 loss to Albania in its Group I opener, although he is currently subject to an eight-game ban by FIFA for misconduct during Greece's 2014 FIFA World Cup last-16 penalty shoot-out loss to Costa Rica.
That ban, upheld on appeal by FIFA, will see him unable to oversee things from the touchline in this weekend's game with France or the clash with Denmark - which Portugal has not beaten away from home since 1995.
Albania hosts Denmark three days earlier hoping to inflict a similar shock on the Scandinavian side before visiting a Serbia side that will be coming off a challenging away game in Armenia.
World champion Germany travels to neighbour Poland before welcoming Republic of Ireland to the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen next Wednesday morning (AEDT).
And coach Joachim Low is keen for his side to take command of Group D with victories in both encounters.
"Both of these games in October are extremely important," he told the German Football Association's website.
"If we are successful against Poland and then afterwards against Ireland, then we could give ourselves a cushion."
Republic of Ireland's clash with Germany comes after a meeting with international newboy Gibraltar, which then hosts Georgia.
Scotland, which lost 2-1 to Germany in its opening fixture, entertains Georgia and then visits Poland as it aims to build on an encouraging performance in Dortmund last time out.
Reigning European champion Spain will be expected to claim maximum points from away games with Slovakia and Luxembourg, who also meet Belarus and FYR Macedonia respectively, in Group C.
Ukraine, beaten 1-0 by Slovakia in its opener, is arguably favourite for second spot behind Spain and will be eager to recover versus Belarus and FYR Macedonia.
Italy, defeated by Spain in the EURO 2012 final, should be expected to continue its good start under Antonio Conte against Azerbaijan and Malta, but Group H rival Bulgaria faces much tougher assignments versus Croatia and Norway.
Norway, beaten 2-0 by Italy in its opener, will also take on Malta while Croatia's other game is with Azerbaijan.
Netherlands suffered a surprise defeat in its opening fixture in Group A, losing 2-1 at Czech Republic, but should be confident of that setback by beating Kazakhstan and Iceland.
Trips to Turkey and Kazakhstan beckon for Czech Republic as it seeks to gain some comfort room at the top of the group and Latvia will welcome Iceland and Turkey to Riga.
Group B sees 2014 FIFA World Cup quarter-finalist Belgium open its campaign against Andorra and Bosnia-Herzegovina, while Israels travel to Cyprus and Andorra after the suspension of last month's meeting with Marc Wilmots's side due to safety fears.
Wales, meanwhile, hosts Bosnia-Herzegovina and Cyprus after narrowly avoiding an embarrassing result in its 2-1 victory over Andorra.
England made a fine start to its Group E campaign with a 2-0 win at Switzerland and is likely to have little difficulty overcoming San Marino and Estonia, despite the absence of striker Daniel Sturridge.
Lithuania hosts Estonia and Slovenia, which will also be looking to inflict further pain on Vladimir Petkovic's Switzerland ahead of its trip to San Marino.
Greece, a famous winner in 2004, meets Finland and Northern Ireland in Group F after coming unstuck in the opener against a Romania side that will attempt to build on its 1-0 triumph in Piraeus with wins over Hungary and Finland.
Pool minnow Faroe Islands faces Northern Ireland and Hungary in its search for a first competitive win since June 2011.
Elsewhere, Group G favourite Russia takes on Sweden and Moldova, and Montenegro meets Liechtenstein and Austria.
The group's other games see Austria visit Moldova and Sweden host Liechtenstein.