Having wriggled free of the relegation noose on the final day of last season, Brøndby IF are fast closing in on a UEFA Europa League berth.
Only a slender 1-0 win at AC Horsens saved Brøndby from the drop in 2012/13, while a sequence of seven games without success at the start of this term had the alarm bells ringing. However, through a combination of trust and an influx of senior players, the ten-time Danish champions have climbed up to fourth, level on points with rivals FC København.
"We acted successfully in the summer transfer window. We had a lot of young, talented players but realised we needed some experienced players for them to lean on," sporting director Per Rud told UEFA.com. "Usually we like to watch a player for a while before signing him, but that was not possible in this case. We were under pressure, but thankfully it's worked out. Our coaching staff have also done a great job"
Rud is a smooth operator in the realm of recruitment having learned his trade at second-division outfit HB Køge. "The ins and outs of the job are very much the same," he explained. "The number of zeroes at the end of a transfer free is one of the few differences. I am also busier with agents who have shown a lot more interest."
Just like Rud, Brøndby boss Thomas Frank was appointed in time for the 2013/14 campaign after leaving his post as Denmark Under-19 coach. "Working with the players on a daily basis has been a nice change. I love working every day," said the 40-year-old, who has thrived within a tight-knit community. "We have a board of directors and management team who have created continuity. The squad are working well together, and after a difficult start we have been rather successful."
Five points clear of fifth-placed Esbjerg fB with three games remaining, Brøndby's primary objective is securing European football. Then there is the task of keeping the core of a harmonious squad intact for next season. "Of course we are aware that [Khalid] Boulahrouz's contract is expiring and Martin Albrechtsen is not getting any younger, but the main focus is keeping the squad together," said Rud.
"First, though, we have to secure a top-four position that would allow us to play in the Europa League qualifying rounds. That would be great for us, although getting through all the qualifying stages would not be easy," he added.
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