Yesterday’s draw for the play-off round of this year’s Champions League campaign had been eagerly anticipated in Manchester, with United hoping to return to Europe’s prime competition after being absent last season. As the draw came to its conclusion, Manchester United were left with an incredibly favourable result, having been dealt Belgian side Club Brugge who had finished second in Belgium at the end of the most recent domestic campaign. The Red Devils will be hosting Brugge at Old Trafford on 18th August, before having to travel to Belgium for the second leg on 26th August.
Brugge’s biggest strength is probably their back-line that includes sought after Belgian right-back Thomas Meunier and 26-year old Costa Rica international centre-back Oscar Duarte. Another key player is former Barcelona midfielder Victor Vazquez who was educated at the famous La Masia academy and has been at Brugge since 2011. Vazquez will certainly the focal point in attack and will be in charge of running his team’s midfield over the two legs. Here is a quick look at some of the Spaniard’s skills. Despite having a fairly decent squad, the team from Belgium go into these two games as clear outsiders and will have to hope for some significant luck against Manchester United.
The rest of the draw threw up some interesting match-ups, with Leverkusen facing Lazio and Monaco facing Valencia the two most intriguing games to look forward to. Here is a look at all games:
FK Astana – APOEL Nicosia
BATE Baryssau – Partizan Belgrade
Lazio – Bayer Leverkusen
Manchester United – Club Brugge
Sporting – CSKA Moscow
Skenderbeu Korce – Dinamo Zagreb
Celtic – Malmo FF
FC Basel – Maccabi Tel Aviv
SK Rapid – Shakhtar Donetsk
Valencia – AS Monaco