Manchester United - Club Brugge: Club Facts

After Sunday's win against Charleroi, the blue and black prepare for the second leg of the Europa League 1/16th final against Manchester United. Will Club Brugge return home after a stunt victory at Old Trafford?

Early goal

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Éder Balanta, who is suspended Thursday night, celebrated his first goal at Jan Breydel. He scored his third goal for Club, after having scored at STVV and Anderlecht. His goal against Charleroi was the earliest goal in the last four years. Wesley Moraes struck home in the first minute on 19 February 2016 in a 6-0 win over Westerlo.

 

Hans Vanaken's assist for Balanta was his 60th assist in the Belgian first division, 18 of which he gave during his time at Lokeren. Club Brugge keep a nine-point advantage over AA Gent who beat STVV 4-1 on Sunday.

First leg

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Last week's first leg ended in a 1-1 draw at Jan Breydel. Simon Mignolet found Emmanuel Dennis after fifteen minutes and the Nigerian lobbed Sergio Romero who had rushed out. Anthony Martial equalised just past the half-hour mark when the Frenchman outpaced Mechele. Both sided had a couple of good opportunities to take the win, but both had to settle for a draw.

 

Ruud Vormer can play his 270th official game for Club Brugge. Mats Rits and Siebe Schrijvers can be called upon for the 80th and 70th time. Simon Deli can play his 40th game for Club. Loïs Openda needs to avoid getting booked, otherwise he's suspended in the first leg of the next round - if Club gets through.

Theatre of Dreams

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Manchester United already hosted a Belgian team five times before and each time kept the points home. In case of a penalty shootout, Club might have the advantage. In the four previous European penalty shootouts (2002, 2003, 2005 and 2009) Club went through to the next round. Manchester lost two of their three shootouts. This season the Mancunians have not yet conceded a goal at home in the Europa League.

 

Fans who travel to Manchester will be in the second largest stadium in Great Britain. With 74.879 seats Old Trafford is smaller than the Wembley Stadium that seats 90.000 football fans. The 'Theatre of Dreams' has been the home of Manchester United since 1910 and was the venue for the WC final in 1966, the EC final of 1996 and the Champions League final of 2003.

Referee

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Dutchman Serder Gözübüyük is the referee for Thursday's game. It's the first Club Brugge or Manchester United game for the 34-year-old referee. He's assisted by Charles Schaap and Jan de Vries (linesmen), Allard Lindhout (fourth official) and Jochem Kamphuis (VAR).

 

Gözübüyük whistled his first game in 2010. At the age of 24 he was the youngest referee ever at the highest level in the Netherlands. He's been a regular for European games since 2012. Because of the cooperation between the Dutch and Belgian football association, he also whistled three games in the Jupiler Pro League. In 2017 he was the referee in the European game between KRC Genk and Astra Giurgiu.

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