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HJK v Club Brugge background

Having lost both of their previous games against Belgian opponents, HJK Helsinki will look to break their duck versus Club Brugge KV in UEFA Europa League Group B.

HJK after scoring against Rapid Wien in the play-offs
HJK after scoring against Rapid Wien in the play-offs ©AFP/Getty Images

HJK Helsinki and Club Brugge KV will be on the lookout for their first UEFA Europa League Group B goals as they meet for the first time.

Form guide
HJK lost both their previous games against Belgian sides without scoring, while Club Brugge have yet to suffer defeat in four encounters against Finnish opposition (W3 D1).

HJK are making only their second appearance in a major UEFA competition group stage, having reached the same phase of the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League. They are Finland's first UEFA Europa League group stage contenders.

HJK are unbeaten in five European home games (W2 D3); Club Brugge have won both of their European away fixtures this season.

Trivia and links
Club Brugge midfielder Timmy Simons and HJK counterpart Mika Väyrynen played together at PSV Eindhoven from 2005 to 2008, winning two Dutch titles together.

HJK's Ghanaian defender Gideon Baah turns 23 on the eve of the game.

HJK forwards Aristide Bance (KSC Lokeren OV, KFC Germinal Beerschot Antwerpen) and Roni Porokara (also Germinal Beerschot) both have Belgian league experience.

HJK are among ten national champions in the group stage along with GNK Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia), Legia Warszawa (Poland), FC Steaua Bucureşti (Romania), AC Sparta Praha (Czech Republic), Aalborg BK (Denmark), ŠK Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia), Qarabağ FK (Azerbaijan), FC Salzburg (Austria) and Celtic FC (Scotland).

The coaches
HJK coach Mika Lehkosuo was a midfielder for the club when they played in the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League, captaining the side after a brief spell in Italy with AC Perugia. Capped 17 times, he coached FC Honka Espoo before taking over at HJK in April 2014.

• 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).

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