Club Brugge KV will hope to end a dismal run against Italian sides when they host Torino FC in their Group B opener, with the Granata keen to extend their streak in Belgium.
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Club Brugge KV will look to turn the tide as they take on Serie A opponents in the form of Torino FC in their opening UEFA Europa League Group B tie.
• Club Brugge have lost their last five games against Italian opponents in UEFA club competition since a 1-0 UEFA Champions League triumph at AC Milan in the 2003/04 group stage. All of those defeats were by one-goal margins, and they have also lost by the odd goal in their last four home fixtures against Serie A outfits.
• Club Brugge won all four of their games in UEFA Europa League qualifying this season, and are unbeaten in three continental home fixtures (W2 D1); Torino also came through qualifying unbeaten (W3 D1) and have yet to concede in Europe this season.
• Torino have not lost in four encounters with Belgian sides (W3 D1), and won both of their previous games in Belgium by one-goal margins.
Trivia and links
• Losing UEFA Cup finalists in 1992, Torino are playing in Europe for the first time since the 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
• Torino boast Belgian talent in the form of goalkeeper Jean-François Gillet (capped nine times), who has played in Italy since leaving his boyhood club R. Standard de Liège in 1999. Their on-loan Morocco midfielder Omar El Kaddouri was also born in Belgium, starting his career as a trainee at RSC Anderlecht.
• Club Brugge's Brazilian midfielder Fernando played in Italy with AC Siena and Calcio Catania between 2003 and 2005.
• Giampiero Ventura led Torino back to Serie A after taking charge in 2011, and is now enjoying – at the age of 66 – his first season in Europe. Previously a player at UC Sampdoria, he once led US Lecce from Serie C to Serie A, and also oversaw promotion to the top tier with Cagliari Calcio, as well as winning a club record 50 Serie A points with AS Bari in 2009/10.
• A goalkeeper for R. Standard de Liège, KV Mechelen, SL Benfica and Belgium, for whom he won 58 caps, Michel Preud'homme has been in charge at Club Brugge since September 2013. As a coach, he has won league titles in Belgium (Standard, 2007/08) and Saudi Arabia (Al-Shabab FC, 2011/12) in addition to the Belgian Cup (KAA Gent, 2009/10) and the Dutch Cup (FC Twente, 2010/11).
• Preud'homme came up against Torino's neighbours Juventus as a Standard player; his side drew 1-1 at home and lost 2-0 away in the 1982/83 European Champion Clubs' Cup.