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Koster cranks up Brugge for final push

Published: Wednesday 16 December 2009, 8.55CET
Coach Adrie Koster wants Club Brugge KV "to dare to take the initiative, play attacking football and go for goal" as the Belgian side host Toulouse FC with both teams still in the hunt in Group J.
by Berend Scholten
from Bruges
Koster cranks up Brugge for final push
Brugge celebrate a goal in victory against FK Partizan ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

Club BruggeToulouse

Goals scored11
 
6
Attempts on target71
 
44
Attempts off target2
 
0
Corners29
 
28
Offsides18
 
8
Fouls committed119
 
85
Yellow cards20
 
10
Red cards0
 
0

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Standings

SSI Err
 
Published: Wednesday 16 December 2009, 8.55CET

Koster cranks up Brugge for final push

Coach Adrie Koster wants Club Brugge KV "to dare to take the initiative, play attacking football and go for goal" as the Belgian side host Toulouse FC with both teams still in the hunt in Group J.

Club Brugge KV will be hoping it is a case of third-time lucky as they take on Toulouse FC in their final Group J game needing a draw to progress to the UEFA Europa League round of 32.

Bad omens
Club Brugge fans, though, could be forgiven for fearing the worst, given their side's recent record in European games where they needed a home draw to progress. Last season they missed out on the UEFA Cup knockout rounds after losing 1-0 to FC København in their final group game. The year before that, needing a draw in the second leg of their first-round tie with SK Brann, they went down 2-1 at the Jan Breydel Stadium.

Positive approach
Coach Adrie Koster sought to put the various permutations out of his players' minds. "We have to dare to take the initiative, play attacking football and go for goal; that is the most important thing," the 55-year-old trainer said. "It is a match where we have to play to win. Playing for a draw is extremely difficult." The Dutchman also sounded a word of caution. "I expect Toulouse to play a compact game as always and if the score remains 0-0 they will spring on to the attack to try to score."

Testing games
Koster has a fully fit squad to choose from with the exception of goalkeeper Geert De Vlieger who has a long-term knee problem. Indeed, his biggest concern is to keep minds focused on the match in hand and not let them wander to Sunday's domestic battle with league leaders RSC Anderlecht. "First we play this match, the stakes are very high here," said Koster, whose second-placed side trail Anderlecht by seven points in the Eerste Klasse. "To be in Europe in the new year is what this is all about. This is a chance we have to grab with both hands."

Toulouse pain
Club Brugge are also second in Group J, five points behind section winners FC Shakhtar Donetsk, but only one point ahead of Toulouse who will go through at their expense by winning this evening. Coach Alain Casanova, though, has personnel problems, with Daniel Congré (flu), Mathieu Berson (suspended) and Jean-Joël Perrier-Doumbé (ineligible) adding to a list of six absentees, while defender Dany Nounkeu is doubtful with a knee problem.

Real final
"Tomorrow is a real final for us," Casanova said. "We really want to qualify and in contrast to Club Brugge we do not have any options. They can draw, but we need to win. It is very special that the last match is decisive. We are still paying for Brugge's equaliser [in the 2-2 Matchday 2 draw] in Toulouse. They are very experienced in Europe and have even played in a European Cup final [against Liverpool FC in 1978]. We are facing a prestigious opponent and that alone is motivation to go out and deliver a good performance."

Last updated: 16/12/09 21.09CET

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