Club Brugge faces Benfica in historic Champions League match
On Wednesday evening, Club Brugge faces Benfica in the round of 16 of the Champions League. Last October, the Flemish club managed to qualify for the playoffs of the prestigious European competition for the first time in its history. But recent disappointing results in the Belgian league cast doubt on the chances of the club.
Club Brugge started strong in the Champions League, securing 10 out of 12 points against Leverkusen, Porto and Atlético Madrid, and qualifying for the playoffs of the European competition for the first time. However, since the end of the group stage, the Flemish club only managed to win two matches in the Belgian Pro League.
Coach Carl Hoefkens was let go in December, and replacement Scott Parker has not managed to turn things around as of yet. Nevertheless, the British coach remains optimistic. "We have prepared well over the past few days," Parker said on Tuesday. "The key will be to start without fear. If we do that, we have nothing to lose."
Benfica, meanwhile, comfortably leads the Primeira Liga, Portugal's first division. Coach Roger Schmidt said he does not put much stock in Club Brugge's poor domestic results. "The Champions League is a different competition entirely. I expect a very motivated and strong Club Brugge. It will certainly not be easy."
Champions League play-offs are disputed in two legs. The return leg will take place in Lisbon on 7 March.
#FlandersNewsService | Club Brugge's Kamal Sowah. © BELGA PHOTO BRUNO FAHY