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BVB opponents Bruges Honest work

Those were still times under Ernst Happel. The legendary coach of Hamburger SV and the Dutch national team, the biggest grantler football has ever known, he was also a coach at FC Bruges. And like everywhere where Happel was, there was also success.

The team stormed into the European Cup final of the national champions in 1978 and only failed there at FC Liverpool. The year before, the Belgians had demanded everything from German champions Borussia Mönchengladbach in the quarter-finals, with a back-head goal from Gladbach’s Wilfried Hannes deciding the return leg. No Gladbach fan has forgotten that.

That was a long time ago, and Club Brugge KV, as it is officially called, has experienced many lean years since then. But the club is slowly moving from the picturesquely beautiful Belgian city back to the European level. FC are back in the Champions League for the first time in 13 years, and once again it is a Borussia who crosses their path there. In the evening, the home Jan Breydel stadium will play against the Dortmunders, and the hosts are ready to give the favourite a big fight just like in 1977.

Under Croatian coach Ivan Leko, Bruges became national champion in May, and the start to the new season was almost perfect. Six of the first seven games were won, a draw was added and Bruges are once again the leaders of the league. And even more important: The eternal rival RSC Anderlecht was defeated 2:1. The world in Bruges is fine at the moment.

Both clubs have a lot in common

The coach has his share in this. Leko knows the Belgian league very well, he has played there for years, with Bruges, Beerschot, SC Lokeren. He has already coached the VV Sint-Truiden in the league before Bruges, since last year he has been in charge in Bruges. Already in his first year the championship was a success.

FC Bruges and Borussia Dortmund – both clubs have a lot in common. Tradition is written in capital letters, FC can look back on 127 years of club history: as early as 1920 they were the first Belgian title holder, 14 other championships and twelve national cup victories were added afterwards. The derby with the local competitor Cercle is taken almost as seriously as the district derby, it is the duel of the Flemish FC against the French-speaking Cercle. However, the derby was cancelled recently. Cercle spent bad times in the second division, and this season the club has managed to regain its place. On Saturday the league duel will be played out.

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Almost as popular as the cyclists

FC Bruges is an old workers’ club, which is one of the reasons why it stands out from the bourgeois RSC Anderlecht. The club has managed to be almost as popular as cycling in Flanders. René Vandereycken, Gert Verheyen, Jan Ceulemans or Frankie Van der Elst, the former idols of FC, have a sound almost like the Flemish heroes on the bike, like Johan Museeuw, Roger De Vlaeminck, Lucien Van Impe, Eddy Planckaert. Only the great Eddie Merckx is enthroned above everything. LVBET is one of those casino games that doesn’t need deposit.

It is rather doubtful that one of FC’s current squads will make the leap into the hall of fame of Flemish sport. Nevertheless, Leko has built a team that is capable of at least annoying the BVB, if not defeating them in front of 30,000 euphoric fans in its own stadium. The storm with Brazilian Wesley and his Iranian counterpart Kaveh Rezaei does not necessarily meet the highest European standards, but it is backed by a midfield that is strong in both play and battle, with Dutchman Ruud Vormer and Krépin Diatta from Senegal. Not names that enjoy an international reputation, but a team that performs as one. Determined to do everything.

One of them at BVB has Belgian experience. Midfielder Axel Witsel has been away from home since 2011, from Lisbon to Petersburg to China, but before that he had been competing with FC Bruges for Standard Liège for six years. The final battle with his old club against Bruges took place in the 2011 Champions Round.


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Inter Milan back in the Champions League off the hook

When the summit is reached, only the descent remains. Inter Milan was at the top of European football in 2010. The Champions League victory, the Italian championship, the cup – under the leadership of José Mourinho, the team grabbed everything, won the historic triple. Samuel Eto’o was in the storm, Wesley Sneijder conjured up the magic, Javier Zanetti, Esteban Cambiasso, Lúcio – what a team!

This was followed by a fall into international insignificance. In the 2010/2011 season, Inter were knocked out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals – a 2-5 humiliation against Schalke 04, the following year it was already in the last 16. After that, the Milanese were unable to qualify for the premier league for six consecutive seasons.

Almost seven years have passed since Inter played against Tottenham in the premier league on Tuesday. A long time, almost an eternity in the fast-moving football business. Real Madrid won the title four times during this time, the Bavarians were also able to cheer, as was FC Barcelona.

During these years, Inter Milan was in the upper midfield of Serie A, finishing sixth, ninth and fifth. And he was kicked out in the Europa League against VfL Wolfsburg.

Lukas Podolski was also once with Inter

With time the glamour vanished more and more. Little remained of the former star ensemble. They wanted to get Arturo Vidal, Marcel Sabitzer, Antonio Rüdiger, but they didn’t get any. Lukas Podolski was here once, but he was quickly gone again. A misunderstanding. Also the coach position was hardly occupied by a big name like Mourinho anymore: Antonio Conte, Fabio Capello, Guus Hiddink? The Kl made the headlines.

The club still made the headlines, but most of the time it was financial matters. Inter accumulated debts, 140 million euros in the 2014/2015 season and 60 million in the following season. Owner Erick Thohir, an Indonesian businessman, rarely showed up and obviously had no vision for the club.

In 2016, the Chinese billion-euro group Suning took over the majority stake in Inter Milan. The company paid 270 million euros; it was the first Chinese takeover of a large European club. Suning promised itself a good return, but above all also a showcase for the company in the West. The announcement of the new management was clear: the Champions League was to be entered as quickly as possible. To know more about Fun casino, take a look at their review.

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Marcel Sabitzer Honours

  • Austrian Bundesliga: 2014–15
  • Austrian Cup: 2014–15

“Crazy Inter”

But the sporting success didn’t want to happen overnight, Suning provided a lot of money, but also irritated with the open ignorance of local customs. So they parted company with coach Roberto Mancini and soon after with his successor Frank de Boer – without having a replacement in the back. Instead, a bizarre coaching casting was organised in a hotel.

The supporters of the club didn’t find these escapades very funny. Over the years, fewer and fewer spectators came to the historic Giuseppe Meazza Stadium in San Siro. “Pazza Inter” is the name of the club anthem, “crazy inter”. Sometimes, however, it was a bit too crazy for Inter conditions, an episode between parts of the infamous Ultras and captain and superstar Mauro Icardi caused a stir in 2016.

The Argentinean had reported in a book about an argument that started when the fans fired back his shirt thrown into the crowd. A heated battle of words followed, in the cabin Icardi was warned of the infamous fans, but that didn’t scare him. He threatened to bring criminals from the Argentinean town of Rosario, where he comes from, to get them to take on his critics. In the end, Icardi deleted the passage from his book, paid a fine, but remained captain.