The Europa League sets the stage for Club Brugge tonight, entertaining Austrian FC Salzburg. Find out all about it here.
With six goals in the EL group stages, Munas Dabbur tops the goal scorers' table, just like he does in Austria, having scored 9 in the Austrian Bundesliga. His twelve goals in Europe last year make the 26 year old Israeli the most prolific striker in both UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. For the first time since 2014, this title did not go to Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. Next step in his career will be Sevilla in Spain, but first he intends to put a fabulous end to his stint at FC Salzburg this season.
Voted Player of the Month by the Club fans, Brandon Mechele is rewarded for his steady performances of the past month. The Red Devil featured in every youth squad at Blauw-Zwart, and is one of the first names on the board in Ivan Leko's outfit. The 26 year old embodies the Club slogan No Sweat No Glory, is a fortress in defense, and proves of great value to Club. Last year, he was the only player (not including goalies) to have played every single minute in the Jupiler Pro League.
Mr. Georgi Kabakov will be handling the whistle tonight. At the Jan Breydel Stadium, he will be backed by his compatriots Mr. Martin Margaritov and Mr. Diyan Valkov (linesmen) and Mr. Nikola Popov and Mr. Stanislav Todorov (goal line refs). Mr. Georgi Todorov will be fourth official.
FC Salzburg's wondrous European adventure last year is getting a fine follow-up this year. Last season, the Austrian champions only lost once, in a turbulent Semis encounter with Olympique Marseille. ‘Die Roten Bullen’ were without fault in the UEFA Europa League group stages against RB Leipzig, Celtic and Rosenborg. FC Salzburg is the only team to have won its UEFA Europa League group with the maximum of points. Coach Marco Rose's team is having another great run, still unbeaten in the home league, the Cup and in Europe. The encounter with Club will be the first official game for the team in two months, the Austrian Bundesliga only resuming on 24 February. In preparation of this game, FC Salzburg set up seven friendlies against several opponents from both Austria and abroad.
The award for a third spot in the CL group stages is a place in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32. In the first leg at Jan Breydel, Club gets a unique chance to get in a comfortable position before taking on the crucial second tie at the Austrian Red Bull Arena. Some fine collective performances in the Champions League impressed neutral observers, keeping such European top outfits the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Atlético Madrid and AS Monaco at bay. A hefty opponent now awaits with FC Salzburg, superior in its home league, and without fault in the Europa League. Plenty to look forward to on Valentine's Day! Club Brugge's selection is as follows: