Club Brugge will be playing in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time in their history following a goalless draw with Atletico Madrid on matchday four (12 October).
The Belgian outfit shocked the La Liga giants in the first-leg of the clash, running out 2-0 winners at Jan Breydel Stadion to secure their third win of the campaign following a brilliant and resolute performance.
Their draw with Atletico saw them retain top spot in Group B, four points clear of second-placed Porto, and it secured them a place in the last-16.
Diego Simeone‘s side were in search of their second win of the campaign, but they were not clinical enough, and while Brugge were reduced to 10 men with eight minutes left on the clock at Metropolitano Stadium, the hosts could not capitalise and are now at risk of failing to qualify for the last-16.
Atletico are third in the group having picked up just four points in four games, and they will need to pick up all six points in their next two games to have a chance of finishing as Group B runners-up.
However, things could even get worse for the Spanish side as they could miss out on finishing in third and qualifying for the Europa League last-32 as Bayer Leverkusen are just a point behind them.
They host the Bundesliga side next before travelling to Portugal to face Porto next month.
Atletico reached the quarter-finals of the competition in 2021-22 but could fail to progress from the group stage following their uninspiring start to the campaign.
They have not been particularly solid in La Liga too this term, with six wins, two draws and two defeats to their name in the opening 10 games of the new season.
As a result, Colchoneros are in fourth place in the table, eight points behind city rivals, defending champions and league leaders Real Madrid.
They are not favourites to win the La Liga or Champions League, and not many would be surprised if they end the season without silverware.
Despite reaching the finals of the elite European competition in 2013-14 and 2015-16 and the semifinals in 2016-17, Simeone’s side have not been threatening in recent seasons, and some key changes would be required if they want to start mounting a strong challenge in the competition anytime soon.
While they are at risk of missing out entirely of Europe in the coming games, Brugge will be hoping to cause an upset in the knockout stages, and they could be the dark horses this season considering how they have performed in recent games.
Carl Hoefkens’ men are Belgian Pro League’s reigning champions and they have also started their title defence well, with nine victories, a draw and three assists to their name so far.
Brugge are third in the table at the moment, six points behind leaders Genk, and they will very much fancy their chances of retaining the title.
How far they can go in the Champions League remains to be seen, but all eyes will be on them ahead of the last-16 draws.