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2011-2016: LONGING FOR THAT TITLE

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DAUM GETS CLUB GOING AGAIN

Taking over the reigns in November 2011, Christoph Daum lead Club Brugge to a very meritorious second place Jupiler Pro League, the best league result in seven years. Fans hoped the illustrious German would also join forces with Club in the next season to finally claim that title again, but unfortunately, Christoph Daum decided to seek a challenge elsewhere. One thing about Daum will remain in the collective memory; referring to the typical 1-0 final result offering Club the win, the term “Daum score” soon found its way to the press headlines.

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A TOUGH LEGACY

With Christoph Daum no longer in the picture, Club was set for another new coach in season 2012/2013, and pulled a surprise card in luring George Leekens away from the Belgian national team. Leekens had already been head coach at Club from 1989 to 1991, and had lead Club to the league title. This time, he would be following in the huge steps of the immensely popular Christoph Daum, and the latter’s shoes soon proved too hard to fill. Six months into the season, the contract with Leekens was disbanded.

Just a few weeks later, Spanish coach Juan Carlos Garrido made his way to the Jan Breydel grounds. Despite an early European elimination by Polish Śląsk Wrocław, Blauw-Zwart lived less worrying times in the Belgian league, sticking to a top three position. Nonetheless, the contract between Club Brugge and Juan Carlos Garrido was disbanded in September of 2013, with as a logical consequence the search for a new head coach at Club Brugge.

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THE PERFECTIONIST

In its venture for a new coach, Club Brugge soon had Michel Preud’homme in its crosshairs. Preud’homme had just concluded an adventure at Al Shabab, Saudi Arabia. Earlier prizes in the Belgian league included a title with Standard de Liège and a Belgian Cup with AA Gent, and Club Brugge was convinced ‘perfectionist’ Michel Preud’homme would be the man to lead the team to a new title with his meticulous tweaks and changes.

In season 2014-2015, the pieces in the puzzle of Michel Preud'Homme really started to come together. For the first time in 20 years, a Belgian team made it to the UEFA Europa League Quarter Finals after ousting Turkish top team Besiktas in front of a frenetic 70,000 man strong crowd in Instanbul, only to get narrowly defeated by later finalists Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the Round of 8.

 

Just a few days later, Club Brugge met with RSC Anderlecht in what was to become the most perfect Cup Final in Club history. With a 1-1 score after 92 minutes, and prolongations in clear view, Israeli midfielder Lior Refaelov scored one of thé goals in his career, bringing an 11th Belgian Cup to Club Brugge. The many European and Belgian Cup games cost Club dearly in the following Play-Offs, and the runner-up position was all that was in it for Club after one hell of a ride.

 

By now, it had been eleven years since Club last won the league. In season 2015-2016, Club concluded the regular league as leaders, taking on the Play-Offs with a minimal margin vis-à-vis opponents AA Gent and RSC Anderlecht. Despite a defeat in the Cup Final at the hands of Standard de Liège, Club proved much better than the competition in the Play-Offs. On 15 May 2016, a broad 4-0 win over arch rivals RSC Anderlecht made sure Club Brugge won the league for the 14th time in its history. A never-before-seen celebration erupted in the streets of Bruges.