Manchester United’s fourth-place finish in the 2014/15 English Premier League means they have to qualify for this year’s European Champions League group stage. They’ll kick things off this Tuesday, August 18 when they host Club Brugge of Belgium at Old Trafford. This is the first time United find themselves in the qualifying round of the competition after 18 straight years of reaching the group stage automatically. However, it’s still better than last season when the English giants missed the tournament completely following their seventh-place finish in 2013/14.
Manchester United vs Club Brugge Soccer Betting Preview
- bet365 lists Manchester United as the current favorites at 1/4 while Brugge is 9/1 and a draw is 4/1
Head to Head:
- This is the first time in Brugge’s 124-year history that they will pay a visit to Old Trafford and the two sides have never met before in European cup competitions. United has played Belgian teams three times at home in the past and outscored them 19-1 with all the games coming against Anderlecht. They beat the Belgian side 10-0 in 1956/57 for their biggest ever European victory. Club Brugge has played 11 games in England in the past and have nine losses and a pair of draws to show for them. They’ve lost six straight to English sides since beating Chelsea 1-0 in 1994/95. Brugge is in for a tough test since United has never lost a European qualifying series with just one loss in 16 previous matches.
This is the first game of a two-legged home and away tie. Club Brugge were runners up in last season’s Belgian Pro League. Brugge had to play in an earlier qualifying round to reach this stage and managed to beat Panathinaikos of Greece 4-2 on aggregate. Brugge last reached the group stage of the Champions League in 2005/06 and their previous best in the Champions League/European Cup was an appearance in the 1977/78 Final. Brugge made it as far as the quarterfinals in the Europa League last campaign.
Man United started of this year’s Premier League season with a pair of 1-0 wins over Tottenham Hotspur at home and Aston Villa on the road. However, they’ve looked far from threatening so far. United’s goals against Spurs came courtesy of a Kyle Walker own goal and the winner against Villa came from the boot of young Adnan Januzaj. Regular goalkeeper David De Gea of Spain is still trying to force the team into selling him to Real Madrid and Argentine Sergio Romero has picked up the two clean sheets this season.
United manager Louis van Gaal, who’s in charge of the club for his second season, said he’s happy with the six points United have gathered so far, but expects a lot more from his players on the pitch. His side will be facing a Brugge team that currently sits in seventh place in the Belgian league with two wins, a draw and a loss in four games for seven points. They’ve scored six goals and allowed three against.
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Written by Ian S. Palmer