I knew Blauw-Zwart were playing last night, honestly I did, but I was too busy getting married. So I checked the result this morning and saw that unfortunately, the Champions League will have to be put on hold for another season. I’m gutted because firstly, unlike with English clubs, I genuinely want all Belgian clubs to succeed in Europe. Secondly, it means I can’t see Belgian clubs in the top competitions. Coefficient gets hit by this and if Anderlecht get an uneasy group, it could spell even more trouble.
But I’ve said this before. If English Championship clubs can buy players from Champions League clubs across Europe for £15 million then what chance do Belgian clubs have? Last night you look at Istanbul Basaksehir and they Gael Clichy, Emre Belozoglu, Eljero Elia and Emmanuel Adebayor. All played at top clubs and in the Premier League very recently (apart from Elia) whereas Brugge are snapping up the best from the Pro League or good clubs in Europe, but not great clubs.
Playing in Turkey is always an uphill task due to the atmosphere and heat. An unfortunate 2-0 defeat is what happened with 2 first half strikes. However, with the first leg being a total disaster in the end, what if Brugge held on to that 2 goal advantage, just like the Turks did, we may be talking about progression. Giving the Belgians something to hold on to away, a performance where as long as you don’t concede is possibly easier than a match where you must score.
Club Brugge can look at some positives in that the Europa League is somewhat of a possibility if you go by Genk and Anderlecht’s brave journey last season, and with a minor miracle, it would be a great achievement if Oostende turned around the 2 goal deficit AND if Gent finally get their fingers out and actually perform this season, at home and abroad. Four teams in the Europa League is better than 2, and if they’re all of title winning quality, which they all are, then that enhances the Pro League’s chances.
I’ll end by simply saying this experience should put Club Brugge in good stead in that they should never become complacent after the 3-3 draw last week and be happy and professional with any advantage you have. Big or small.