Does the Europa Conference League offer Club Brugge the chance to make history?

Over the recent years, Club Brugge have been used to Tuesday and Wednesday night European football. However, after a poor 2022/2023 season, the side have had to settle for Conference League football and Thursday night matches instead. However, given their European experience, this may well offer the 2023/2024 squad the chance at making history. Only two Belgian clubs have won European competitions, being Anderlecht and a surprising KV Mechelen. Despite being one of the bigger sides in the country, Club Brugge are not amongst this list.

While this is of no surprise as footballs power has cemented in a handful of leagues, with top clubs now able to pick apart teams from the so called lesser nations. Yet the Conference League has levelled the playing field somewhat, allowing more teams to access European football and in many ways feeling like a throwback to an era when Belgian clubs were competitive. For example, Gent only lost last season to eventual winners West Ham, while Anderlecht should have gotten the better of AZ Alkmaar in the quarter-finals.

Club Brugge have been given a tough group, with Turkish side Beşiktaş being the standout side for the casual observer. However, Norwegian side FK Bodø/Glimt are one of the strongest sides at home domestically and in Europe. Lugano are the final team to make up Group D, but they were comfortably beaten by fellow Belgian side Union St Gilloise in Europa League qualification.

Where the excitement and expectation of a deep run for the blue and black half of Brugge comes from is in their incredible array of attacking talents. Antonio Nusa is having his breakout season, deciding to remain with the club and rejecting a move to Chelsea over the summer. Igor Thiago has hit the ground running since moving from Bulgaria, scoring six goals in 12 games. Ferran Jutglà is returning from injury, while the side has creativity behind these two with Hans Vanaken, Andreas Skov Olsen, Philip Zinckernagel and Hugo Vetlesen. Even left-back Maxim De Cuyper is an attacking threat.

The defence is struggling, but the attack more than makes up for it. Rony Deila’s side have already scored an impressive 19 goals in six games this season, including smashing seven past newly promoted RWDM.

Club Brugge open up at home to Beşiktaş in what could be the battle for the top spot in the group. Expectations are high that the side from Flanders can go deep in the competition, with every chance that they could maybe even win it.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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