AaB v Club Brugge preview
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Aalborg BK can expect a tough UEFA Europa League round of 32 encounter when they meet Club Brugge KV, who very much enjoyed their last visit to Denmark.
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Aalborg BK have not conceded in their last three European home games, while Club Brugge KV did not let in a goal on the road in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage, suggesting a close round of 32 tie in prospect.
What they say
AaB coach Kent Nielsen: "We are proud to have qualified for the knockout phase and are excited about these matches against a strong Club Brugge side. We are not favourites but we believe we can take the next step in the Europa League. I believe tomorrow's match could be a tactical affair, but if we succeed in playing fast, with a high level of discipline, we have a good chance."
Club Brugge coach Michel Preud'homme: "Now we have reached the knockout stage, we will take one match at a time. Our goal was to qualify from the group and, as we won our group, we will now see how far we can get. Everybody in Belgium expects us to win because we already beat two Danish team this season, but AaB are not FC København or Brøndby IF. I think this tie is 50/50."
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.
• AaB are unbeaten in two home matches against Belgian teams (W1 D1).
• Club Brugge have not lost (W3 D1) or shipped a goal in their last four games in Denmark, including a 4-0 win at FC København in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage.
• AaB are undefeated in four European home fixtures, and won all three of their UEFA Europa League Group J matches in Denmark this term without conceding.
• AaB last reached this springtime stage in 2008/09, beating RC Deportivo La Coruña en route to a penalty shoot-out loss to Manchester City FC in the round of 16. That remains their most successful European campaign.
• Club Brugge are unbeaten in five European away games this season (W4 D1), and did not concede on the road in three Group B outings.
• Club Brugge have not won a springtime UEFA competition double-header in four attempts, since eliminating Debreceni VSC in the third round of the 2003/04 UEFA Cup.
Trivia and links
• On-loan AaB midfielder Thomas Enevoldsen knows Belgian football well, having been on the books at KV Mechelen since 2012.
• Club Brugge are one of five sides to have progressed from the third qualifying round to the round of 32 along with BSC Young Boys, FC Dinamo Moskva. PSV Eindhoven and Torino FC.
• AaB (Denmark) are one of seven reigning domestic champions in the last 32, along with Legia Warszawa (Poland), Olympiacos FC (Greece), FC Salzburg (Austria), RSC Anderlecht (Belgium), Celtic FC (Scotland) and AFC Ajax (Netherlands).
• Kent Nielsen led AaB to a domestic double in 2013/14 after taking command in 2010. Having turned out – like his father and brother – for Bronshøj BK, Nielsen won titles with Brøndby IF and played abroad with Aston Villa FC. Capped 54 times, he coached AGF Aarhus, AC Horsens and Brøndby before assuming his current role.
• A goalkeeper for R. Standard de Liège, Mechelen, SL Benfica and Belgium, for whom he earned 58 caps, Michel Preud'homme has occupied the Club Brugge helm since September 2013. As a coach, he has claimed 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).