Leicester City continued to wage two campaigns in opposite directions this weekend, with a 2-1 loss to Watford keeping their spot in the bottom half of the table. The Champions League has been where they’ve shined this year, of course. They haven’t allowed a single goal so far and will guarantee their spot in the knockout rounds with either a win or a draw and an FC Copenhagen loss/draw. The reverse fixture between these two was Leicester’s introduction to the Champions League in a 3-0 win. While so far they’ve managed to be as good in the Champions League as they’ve been disappointing in the EPL, a loss against Brugge would create some unnecessary pressure after their sterling start. Brugge are now only a point off of second in Belgium with a 1-0 win over the weekend. They’ve had an uneven start to the season and are lacking a consistent goalscoring threat. 20 year-old Dion Cools is their second-highest scoring player, despite playing at right back. A result at Leicester would be a huge momentum-booster for the club, but expect King Power stadium to rocking yet again for a European evening.
Last year’s improbable season gives Leicester a chance to prove themselves at the highest possible level (sorry, World Cup). While it would be foolish to discount their chances, competing in the Champions League in addition to defending their Premier League title and playing in two domestic cups is a tall order for any club - let alone one that was built a year ago for one purpose: avoiding relegation. The Foxes managed to hold onto the talent they need to get out of the group stage, the question is whether they have to squad depth to compete on multiple fronts.
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.
Vardy scored in 11 consecutive matches last season, a Premier League record.
The Dane kept 15 clean sheets in the EPL last season.
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.