Brugge’s European cup competition is done for the season, having failed to grab a point in the group so far. FC Copenhagen, on the other hand, can still make it into the knockout rounds if they win and Porto does not, as they have the head-to-head advantage. The Danish side are cruising at the top of the Danish Superliga, 11 points clear with 8 straight wins and no defeats all season. They don’t boast a truly dominant goalscorer, but have six players with five or more goals each with 23-year old Danish striker Andreas Cornelius leading the way with six. He was once Cardiff City’s record transfer before being sold back to FC Copenhagen six months later, scoring a hat-trick on his return. The first matchup between these sides ended in a 4-0 victory for the Danes and they’ll be eager, and expected, to repeat it as they hope to make it into the knockout rounds at Porto’s expense.
Brugge are in the group stage for the first time since 2005-06 and will have a decent chance to progress to the knockout rounds with København, Porto and Leicester alongside them in Group G. They’ll need to drastically improve on their Europa League campaign last season, with their best performance being a 1-0 win at home over Legia Warsaw before finishing third in their group. Domestically, on their way to becoming Belgian champions, they were led by Abdoulay Diaby and Jelle Vossen who each scored 13 in the league. Brugge brought in defensive midfielder Tomas Pina from Villareal over the summer, who should provide some solidarity.
The first Danish team to ever reach the group stages, FC Copenhagen are back in the competition after two years in the Europa League. The current Danish champions have a decent chance to repeat that feat with Club Brugge, FC Porto and Leicester City rounding out their group. They’ll have to do so without winger Nicolai Jørgensen, who was last season’s top scorer. Forward Federico Santander, their second highest scorer, will shoulder the goalscoring burden alongside København’s usual influx of young Danish talent. Having managed a draw against Barcelona the last time they made it to the knockout stages, getting out of this group is not an unrealistic aim.
Simons is still captaining Brugge from defensive midfield at 39 and is the second-most capped Belgian player of all time.
His volley in added time in the 2015 Belgian Cup final gave Club Brugge their first trophy in eight years.