Manchester United will face Club Brugge in the Champions League play-off round. We will play the first leg at home on 18th August, and the 2nd leg away on 25th August. We’ve pulled together some essential facts about the Flemish club – check them out below.
United have never played Club Brugge
Man Utd have never been drawn against Brugge before, but have had plenty of encounters with Belgian opposition, including a rather epic 10-0 annihilation of Anderlecht under Sir Matt Busby in 1956 – United’s biggest win of all time. (Source: ManUtd.com)
The club has 13 Belgian league titles
Brugge were at their most dominant in the 1970s, when they won four league titles, and most recently clinched the trophy in 2004/05. They also have 11 Belgian cup wins to their name, having last tasted victory last season after beating Anderlecht 2-1 in the final. (Sources: Transfermarkt and Wikipedia)
They last reached the Champions League group stage 10 years ago
Drawn in a group with Juventus and Bayern, Brugge faced an uphill struggle, and despite beating Rapid Vienna both home and away, failed to make it to the last 16. They won the UEFA Cup in 1976 and the European Champion Clubs’ Cup in 1978. (Source: UEFA.com)
38-year-old Timmy Simons is their captain
The Belgian defensive midfielder is enjoying his second stint with Brugge – he made 162 appearances for the club between 2000-2005, before periods with PSV and FC Nuremberg, and then returned in 2013. He is now the club’s all-time record appearance maker, having played for Brugge 292 times. He has scored 66 goals in 537 appearances overall at club level during a career dating back to 1998, and also has 93 caps for Belgium, with 6 international goals to his name. He is known for his tireless work ethic and penalty-taking ability. (Source: Wikipedia)
The squad has an average age of just 23
Captain Timmy Simons is one of just 3 players aged 30 or above, with the likes of 19-year-old Belgian centre-forward Obbi Oulare providing quality at the younger end of the spectrum. Check out Oulare’s goal in Brugge’s recent 3-0 Champions League qualification win (4-2 on aggregate) over Panathinaikos here.
Brugge’s squad has a total market value of £51.07m
By comparison, Man Utd’s players are worth a total of £278.08m – more than 5 times as much. Brugge’s most highly-valued players are both Belgians – 23-year-old right back Thomas Meunier (injured till early September) and 22-year-old attacking midfielder Hans Vanaken, who recently joined from KSC Lokeren. (Source: Transfermarkt)
They are managed by legendary former goalkeeper Michel Preud’homme
Preud’homme won the Belgian Cup in 1987, the Cup Winner’s Cup and the European Super Cup in 1988, and the Belgian league title in 1989. He also won the Portuguese Cup with Benfica in 1996. (Source: Wikipedia) Why not watch some of his best saves below…