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Get to Know Club Brugge, the Belgian Squad Making Waves in Europe

Corey KnappContributor IOctober 21, 2019

Dennis scored both goals in Club Brugge's surprising draw at Real Madrid on Champions League Matchday 2.
Dennis scored both goals in Club Brugge's surprising draw at Real Madrid on Champions League Matchday 2.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

It's not even 40 minutes into its Champions League Group Stage match at the famous Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, and Club Brugge is rolling. The Belgian team is quicker, aggressive and fearless, running Real Madrid, winners of three of the past four competition crowns, off of its own pitch.

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Club Brugge has TWO at the Bernabéu 😱 ➡️ https://t.co/C2SwmKepbs https://t.co/zaHuyXgpLt

Brugge is only here in the group stage because of a pair of narrow summer wins, each over two legs in the third UCL qualifying round and the final playoff round. And now after two Matchdays, the Belgians sit in second place in Group A.

View the full Champion League Group Standings

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Club Brugge scores first in Madrid after VAR 😳 https://t.co/PPtBMsOY2J

While Real Madrid scored twice in the second half to escape with a draw, Club Brugge made a statement, declaring that Group A would not provide the straightforward path envisioned by the Spanish side and PSG when they were all drawn together, along with Turkish club Galatasaray.

With four matchdays left in the group stage, it still remains an uphill climb for Brugge to reach the knockout round, which would be a stunning achievement, but their current form indicates the squad will not go quietly.

Club Brugge plays PSG on Champions League Matchday 3 at 3 p.m. ET this Tuesday, Oct. 22. You can stream the match here on B/R Live.

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Dennis scored twice in Madrid then hit the Ronaldo celebration 🔥 https://t.co/KVAM7LhNyP

Even if it is unable to advance to the Champions League knockout stage, a third-place finish in the group will ensure that Brugge reaches the Europa League round of 32, where it will be one of the favorites to progress further into that competition.

Domestically, Club Brugge leads the Belgian Pro League through about one third of the season, having yet to lose a match. They have won the league in two of the last four seasons, bringing their total to 15 overall, second-most in Belgian first division history. And Club Brugge has lifted the Belgian Cup 11 times and the Belgian Super Cup 15 times, both records.

The success this season has come from a lockdown defense that has only conceded three times in league play and twice in the Champions League, and a high-scoring attack that features a budding star at the top.

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2 midweek Champions League goals and another today in the Belgian Pro League Dennis can't stop scoring for Club Brugge 🔥 https://t.co/1lVeURcPYE

Nigerian striker Emmanuel Bonaventure Dennis, only 21 years old, is in his third year with Club Brugge and has already scored 6 goals in all competitions this season, just one fewer than he had in each of the last two seasons.

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Dennis needs to trademark this move 😅 https://t.co/QbGnIu5w05

Joining Dennis at the top of the Brugge attack is 25-year-old South African Percy Tau, who in his first season with the club (on loan from English Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion) has become one of its top playmakers, tallying 2 goals and 2 assists.

Anchoring Club Brugge at the back are two veteran players in their first seasons in Belgium. Ivory Coast defender Simon Deli has featured in all but one match, leading the back line that has only allowed 3 goals in league play. He's also scored twice and provided 2 assists from his center back position. And Belgian keeper Simon Mignolet is back in his home country after six years with Liverpool. He has kept 8 clean sheets in 13 matches this season.

There is an American connection on the Club Brugge roster as well, with 24-year-old goalkeeper Ethan Horvath serving as Mignolet's backup. Horvath played extensively last season, recording 14 clean sheets in 37 matches while serving as the primary man in net for the club. As Brugge gets deeper into the season playing multiple matches each week, expect Horvath to get some regular time on the pitch.

Club Brugge's next Belgian Pro League match is at 9:30 a.m. ET this Sunday, Oct. 27, which you can stream on B/R Live.

The best way to watch Club Brugge in the Champions League and Belgian Pro League is with the B/R Live Pass, which allows fan to watch all of the team's domestic and European matches for $9.99 each month, including access to full match replays. To check out Club Brugge's upcoming schedule and for more information about the B/R Live Pass, go here.

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