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Twente enter the top echelon

New faces: FC Twente ended a 45-year wait for a first Eredivisie title last season and with Michel Preud'homme at the helm 'De Tukkers' are preparing for their UEFA Champions League bow.

Twente enter the top echelon
Twente enter the top echelon ©UEFA.com

FC Twente are one of six clubs making their UEFA Champions League group-stage debuts this season having won a first Eredivisie title in 2009/10. UEFA.com takes a look at Michel Preud'homme's team.

Who are they?
Formed: 1965
Nickname: De Tukkers
League titles: 1
Dutch Cup: 1

FC Twente were founded in 1965 after Enschedese Boys merged with Sportclub Enschede and they came to prominence in the following decade, challenging for the Dutch title, reaching the 1975 UEFA Cup final and winning the Dutch Cup two years later. After relegation in the 1980s and financial struggles in the 1990s, the club made their comeback in the following decade.

Twente finished seventh in 2005/06, fourth and second in the following years under Fred Rutten then, after the arrival of former England manager Steve McClaren, were runners-up again in 2009 before finally claiming the title last season. AFC Ajax won their last 14 games but Twente's 2-0 victory at NAC Breda on the final day sparked huge celebrations in Enschede. McClaren left for VfL Wolfsburg but the new man in charge is Preud'homme, who brought R. Standard de Liège their first championship in 25 years and won the Belgian Cup with KAA Gent last year.

One to watch
Bryan Ruiz, 25, forward
Ruiz joined Twente last year from Gent, where he worked under Preud'homme, to replace Eljero Elia and proved an immediate hit. Able to play on either wing as well as attacking midfield, the left-footed Costa Rican international claimed 24 Eredivisie goals last term including the opener at Breda. Ruiz also registered eight assists and on 27 March scored a four-minute hat-trick against Sparta Rotterdam.

Memorable match
Juventus 0-1 FC Twente, UEFA Cup semi-final second leg, 23 April 1975
The Turin Miracle, as the match is often described, began with Twente leading 3-1 from the first leg but they were still outsiders against Italy's champions elect. Ten minutes in Johan Zuidema's solo goal extended their aggregate advantage and a lineup containing Epi Drost, Frans Thijssen, Kick van der Vall, Theo Pahlplatz and Jan Jeuring kept out Juve. Twente went on to lose the final 5-1 on aggregate to VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Greatest player
Epi Drost
Although goal machines like Jeuring and Blaise Nkufo have become club heroes, the late Epi Drost is at the top of the pantheon, voted player of the century by fans and nicknamed Mr FC Twente. The diminutive moustachioed libero, capped nine times by the Netherlands, was the key to the club's success between 1968 and 1980, returning briefly in 1983. His passing, insight and motivational skills made him the perfect captain, the man that lifted the Dutch Cup in 1977 after one of his famous long-distance shots. The club were deeply shocked by his death from heart failure aged 49 in 1995.

Did you know?
In the FC Twente Stadium above the Vak-P section behind the goal, the red and white seats form the image of Epi Drost.

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