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Club Brugge - the low-down on Manchester United's Champions League opponents

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Friday's Champions League play-off draw saw Manchester United given an easy-looking tie against Belgian side Club Brugge. The Red Devils avoided trickier looking opponents such as Lazio, Monaco and CSKA Moscow.

Certainly the Belgians were the least known of United's five potential opponents. The club will be desperate to get back into the competition after a one year absence, but will this tie be as easy as it appears?

Here's the low-down on United's opponents:

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THE HISTORY

Founded in 1891 the club plays it's home games at the Jan Breydel Stadium, with a capacity of 29,472 it's less than half the size of Old Trafford. They've been crowned Belgian league champions 13 times, making them the second most successful club in the country.

Despite enjoying plenty of success throughout their 123 year history, Club Brugge haven't lifted the league title since the 2004/05 season. In the last campaign they finished as runners-up to Gent. They did experience success last season though as they secured the Belgian Supercup for the 11th time.

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They have never won a European trophy. However they reached the European Cup final in the 1977/78 season and UEFA Cup final in 1975/76. Last season they reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

The Belgians will be looking to reach the Champions League group-stage for the first time in a decade having been eliminated in the third qualifying round in 2012/13.

THE MANAGER

Former Belgium international Michael Preud'homme is currently at the helm. The former goalkeeper enjoyed success with Standard Liege, Mechelen and Benfica as a player. The 56-year-old has been managing since 2001.

He lasted just a year in his first spell in charge of Standard Liege but returned in 2006 and guided them to the Belgian First Division title in 2007/08. He began a two year stint with Gent in 2008, winning the Belgian Cup in 2009/10.

After leaving Gent he went on to win the Johan Cruyff Shield and KNVB Cup with FC Twente. 2011 saw him move to Saudi Arabian club Al-Shabab Riyadh where he won the Saudi Premier League in 2011/12. He returned to Belgium to take charge of Club Brugge in 2013 and has a Belgian Supercup to his name so far.

ROAD TO THE FOURTH QUALIFYING ROUND

Brugge entered this years competition at the third qualifying round where they were paired with Greek side Panathinaikos. They went down 2-1 in the away leg but recovered in the second leg. Goals from Dion Cools, Victor Vazquez and Obbi Oulare saw them win 3-0 in the home leg. Thus they went through to the fourth qualifying round thanks to a 4-2 aggregate victory.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jose Izquierdo

The 23-year-old left-winger netted ten times in the Belgian League last season. The youngster managed a total of 15 strikes in all competitions. He also managed seven assists from his 44 games.

Victor Vazquez

The experienced Spaniard impressed during the 2014/15 season. A 28-year-old attacking midfielder, he recorded 11 goals in all competitions and also provided 14 assists for his team-mates. He was once on the books of Barcelona but made just three appearances for the first-team.

Tom de Sutter

The Belgian forward could start up front against United. De Sutter tallied up nine goals in the Belgian League last season. The 30-year-old scored a respectable 17 goals in 44 games across all competitions, as well as providing six assists.

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Topics:
Football
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United

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