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Champions League group stage recap: Club Brugge stun top-table regulars

The Belgian club were the surprise package of the group stage, sealing their place in the last 16 with two games to spare.

Watch all Club Brugge's Champions League group stage goals

Few gave Club Brugge a chance at making it out of a group that contained the experienced Atlético and Porto, and dangerous Leverkusen, yet they all but secured progress with three straight wins to open the section.

A goalless draw at Atlético on Matchday 4 and the job was done with two games still to play. Underestimate them at your peril.

Round of 16: Club Brugge vs Benfica

Campaign so far

Group B runners-up: W3 D2 L1 F7 A4
Top scorer: Ferran Jutglà, Kamal Sowah (2)

Highlights: Club Brugge 2-0 Atlético

07/09: Club Brugge 1-0 Leverkusen (Sylla 42)
13/09: Porto 0-4 Club Brugge (Jutglà 15pen, Sowah 47, Skov Olsen 52, Nusa 89)
04/10: Club Brugge 2-0 Atlético (Sowah 36, Jutglà 62)12/10: Atlético 0-0 Club Brugge
26/10: Club Brugge 0-4 Porto (Taremi 33 70, Evanilson 57, Eustáquio 60)
01/11: Leverkusen 0-0 Club Brugge

Campaign in ten words: Underdogs conquering with courage, excellent football and an unbeatable goalkeeper.

UEFA.com Club Brugge reporter

Fuelled by large dollops of bravery, maturity and focus, Club Brugge belied all expectations to reach the knockouts for the first time – with two matches to spare! The manner of the success has been phenomenal, the indomitable Simon Mignolet keeping five clean sheets. They set their stall out with a stunning 4-0 victory at Porto on Matchday 2, promptly proving it was no fluke by taking four points off Atlético.

How do Club Brugge play?

Club Brugge play a 3-5-2 with firm defensive foundations. In front of the unbeatable wall that is Mignolet, experienced duo Denis Odoi and Brandon Mechele line up with this season's revelation, the Ivorian crowd favourite Abakar Sylla. The midfield offers balance between attack and defence, and that equilibrium is replicated up front where the explosive Kamal Sowah lines up alongside Ferran Jutglà, an elusive dribbler with a razor-sharp right foot.

Fantasy star performers

Brandon Mechele – 44 points
Simon Mignolet – 39 points
Abakar Sylla – 35 points

Squad changes

Clubs have until 24:00 CET on Thursday 2 February to register a maximum of three new eligible players prior to the knockout stage. Since 2018/19, it no longer matters whether those players have already played in the competition for another club, even for another club still in the competition.

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