Anderlecht are through to the semi-finals for the second successive season and, like last year, they eliminated Barcelona along the way – UEFA.com runs the rule over Nicolás Frutos's side.
Article top media content
Given the quality of Belgium's full international side, the level of interest in their clubs' feeder teams has risen markedly and, for the second successive year, Anderlecht have qualified for the final week of the UEFA Youth League.
This season's quarter-final against 2014 champions Barcelona attracted a sell-out 4,250 crowd to Denderleeuw's Van Roy Stadium and they were rewarded with a 2-0 victory, thanks to goals from Jorn Vancamp and Antoine Bernier.
"The spirit and the way we play together is the biggest quality of this team," said the former Anderlecht striker Nicolás Frutos, who took over as coach in January. "We might have had some luck in the previous round [against Dinamo Zagreb], but if you saw the way we played against Barcelona and before that against Arsenal then qualification really is deserved."
Forward Aaron Leya Iseka and midfielder Andy Kawaya have graduated to the first team from last year's U19s and the current crop are also making waves. Dodi Lukebakio scored in the senior Anderlecht side's 3-3 draw with Standard Liège on 28 February and also made his UEFA Europa League debut this term.
Hoping to follow in their footsteps are defenders Wout Faes and captain Nathan De Medina, midfielders Orel Mangala and Samy Bourard, and top scorer Vancamp and his fellow strikers, Nelson Azevedo-Janelas and Bernier.
A UEFA Youth League record crowd of 13,162 saw Anderlecht win their quarter-final against Porto last year, and though they lost to Shakhtar Donetsk in the semi-finals, they will have gained from the experience.
"Players have to realise that everything is possible in football if they stay focused on their jobs," added Frutos. "Playing in the UEFA Youth League is important for their development, but it is also important to give a performance like [against Barcelona] every week at domestic level."
Coach: Nicolás Frutos
Date of birth: 10/05/81
The Argentinian striker joined Anderlecht in January 2006 from Independiente but knee and Achilles injuries hampered his career and he was forced to quit, aged 28, in 2010. After taking his first coaching steps in his homeland, he returned as youth coach at Anderlecht this season. "This is a dream come true," he said. "I know this place inside out and there is no better club at which to start a coaching career."
Knocking out Barcelona for the second year in succession is an excellent barometer of the health of Anderlecht's Neerpede academy, which opened in 2011, and has produced internationals Vincent Kompany and Romelu Lukaku.
Vancamp scored six goals in six games en route to the final week, including the opener against Barcelona.