The biggest news this week for Club Brugge wasn't their 1-0 loss to drop them down to 5th in Belgium, but the revelation that they could become part of a proposed breakaway "Atlantic League" consisting of teams from Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium. Part of the motivation is providing the larger clubs in those regions improved revenue in response to future changes to the Champions League format. In the immediate future, Club Brugge need a drastic turnaround to keep their hopes for this year's Champions League alive. They sit on zero points as they welcome an FC Porto side that certainly has the talent to get out of the group, despite only having a solitary point. 20-year old Andre Silva is garnering significant attention after scoring a first-half hat-trick for Portugal against Faroe Islands during the international break. It was no fluke, however - Silva has five goals and an assist in seven Portuguese league matches. His emerging talent is reason enough to keep tabs on this match.
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.
Porto are in the midst of an uncharacteristic trophyless drought, having not won anything for two seasons - the first time they’ve done so since 1981. They’ve brought in Valencia manager Nuno and kept hold of captain Hector Herrera and Algerian attacking midfielder Yacine Brahimi. There will be intense focus on winning a domestic trophy this season, but in a group that includes FC København, Club Brugge and Leicester City, there is no reason why they couldn’t simultaneously make progress in the Champions League. After a couple years in the wilderness, it could be a return to form for the Dragons.
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.