Moving across from the UEFA Champions League for the second year running, Club Brugge face 2016/17 winners Manchester United in the round of 32.
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Third in their UEFA Champions League group for the second year in a row, Club Brugge are back in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 where they take on 2016/17 winners Manchester United.
• The Belgian club drew three and lost three of their matches in UEFA Champions League Group A, finishing below Paris Saint-German and Real Madrid and above Galatasaray, while United finished on top of UEFA Europa League Group L, four points clear of AZ Alkmaar, the side they defeated 4-0 at home on Matchday 6.
• The clubs met in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League play-offs, United cantering through 7-1 on aggregate, with Wayne Rooney scoring a hat-trick as they won the second leg 4-0 in Bruges.
• Club Brugge are without a win in their last ten matches against Premier League opposition, losing eight of them. Although their overall record at home to English clubs in UEFA competition is positive (W6 D1 L3), the three defeats have come in the last four games, most recently 0-3 against Leicester on their opponents' UEFA Champions League debut in September 2016.
• United have made five previous visits to Belgium, four of them to Brussels, where their record against Anderlecht is W1 D1 L2. The draw came on their most recent visit, 1-1 in the first leg of the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League quarter-final, and was followed by a 2-1 extra-time win at Old Trafford.
• Second in Belgium behind Genk in 2018/19, Club Brugge's European campaign last season ended in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 against Salzburg (2-1 h, 0-4 a) after they had finished third, behind Borussia Dortmund and Atlético Madrid, in their UEFA Champions League group.
• This season they entered the UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round and overcame Dynamo Kyiv and LASK to reach the group stage, where the highlight was a 2-2 draw at Real Madrid, the low point a 5-0 defeat in Bruges against Paris Saint-Germain – the club's heaviest at home in UEFA competition. Crucial to their third-placed finish was an added-time equaliser away to Galatasaray that brought a 1-1 draw on Matchday 5.
• Club Brugge are appearing in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 for the fifth time. They have won only one of their previous four ties at this stage, against Danish side Aalborg (3-1 a, 3-0 h) in 2014/15, when they went on to reach the quarter-finals. Their interest in the competition ended at this stage in 2009/10 against Valencia (1-0 h, 0-3 a), in 2011/12 against Hannover (1-2 a, 0-1 h), and last season against Salzburg.
• The 2-1 first-leg success against Salzburg 12 months ago ended a run of nine home European games without a win for Club Brugge (D4 L5). Conversely, the heavy defeat this season by Paris was their first home loss in seven continental fixtures (W3 D3).
• The three-time champions of Europe finished sixth in the 2018/19 Premier League, which meant direct access to the UEFA Europa League. They were quarter-finalists in last season's UEFA Champions League, going out to Barcelona after a remarkable round of 16 second-leg comeback against Paris Saint-Germain (0-2 h, 3-1 a).
• United kept clean sheets in their first four UEFA Europa League group fixtures this term, securing qualification with two games to spare after doing the double over Partizan (1-0 a, 3-0 h). Although an understrength side lost 2-1 at Astana, ending the club's 15-match unbeaten run in the competition, they signed off in style with the 4-0 home win against AZ that secured top spot in Group L – the club's joint biggest victory in the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League.
• The Manchester giants have appeared in three previous UEFA Europa League knockout phases and have been victorious in the round of 32 on all three occasions, eliminating Ajax (2-0 a, 1-2 h) in 2011/12, Midtjylland (1-2 a, 5-1 h) in 2015/16, and Saint-Étienne (3-0 h, 1-0 a) in 2016/17, the season they went on to lift the trophy.
• The Red Devils' away record in 14 UEFA Europa League fixtures is W5 D3 L6, the loss at Astana ending a seven-game undefeated run on their travels (W4 D3). Since that memorable win in Paris last spring United's European away record is W1 D1 L2, with just two goals scored in those four games.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
• Club Brugge
In: Youssouph Badji (Casa Sports), Michael Krmenčík (Viktoria Plzeň)
Out: Dion Cools (Midtjylland), Mbaye Diagne, Amadou Sagna, Jelle Vossen (Zulte Waregem)
• Manchester United
In: Nathan Bishop (Southend), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting), Odion Ighalo (Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, loan)
Out: Marcos Rojo (Estudiantes, loan), Ashley Young (Internazionale)
Links and trivia
• Club Brugge coach Philippe Clement played in the English Premier League for Coventry City in 1998/99 – the season that his counterpart Ole Gunnar Solskjær won the treble with Manchester United. The Belgian did not feature against United.
• Sergio Romero, Juan Mata and Luke Shaw are the three survivors from the United XI that won 4-0 in Bruges in 2015/16, while captain Ruud Vormer is the only current Club Brugge player who started that match, Hans Vanaken appearing as a substitute.
• Club Brugge's Ukrainian import Eduard Sobol played for Zorya Luhansk in their 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford in United's first home game of their triumphant 2016/17 UEFA Europa League campaign.
• Manchester United are one of three former UEFA Europa League winners in this season's knockout phase, along with Porto and Sevilla.
• Defeated just once in 26 Belgian league matches this season, Club Brugge sit on top of the table with a nine-point lead. However, they needed a 96th-minute winner from midfielder Mats Rits – his second goal of the game – to beat Waasland Beveren 2-1 at home last weekend.
• A former Belgian international who represented his country at the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2000 and won 38 caps, Clement was a defensive midfielder and centre-back who spent most of his playing career with Club Brugge, completing a decade at the club following a short spell in England with Coventry. He had made his Belgian top-flight debut with Genk, and returned there in December 2017 to become head coach following a six-month stint at Waasland-Beveren. After leading Genk to the league title in 2018/19, he replaced Ivan Leko at Club Brugge.
• A former Old Trafford favourite, whose legendary status at the club was confirmed with his added-time winner in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final against Bayern München, Solskjær returned to Manchester United as interim manager in December 2018, replacing José Mourinho, before securing the position on a permanent basis the following March. A former Norwegian international striker renowned for his predatory goalscoring, he won six Premier League titles as a United player and established his reputation as a coach in his homeland with Molde.
UEFA Europa League knockout debut for VAR system
Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will be deployed in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase. The decision was taken by the UEFA Executive Committee last September, following the introduction of the system in several UEFA competitions in the 2018/19 campaign.