As they battle for what could be a Champions League qualification spot in the English Premier League, Manchester United take a detour on Thursday when they fight for survival in the 2019/2020 UEFA Europa League. After leaving Belgium last Thursday on level terms at 1-1, United now host 15-time Belgian First Division titlists Club Brugge KV in a winner-take-all match for advancement out of the Round of 32.
Last season, Brugge exited the Europa League at this same stage, falling to German side Salzburg FC — while Manchester United pressed onward to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals where they were eliminated by FC Barcelona. The English team comes into Thursday’s match in an advantageous position, holding on to an away goal scored in Belgium by Anthony Martial last week.
But they also allowed a goal to Brugge, per UEFA, the only goal that United has conceded in their last seven matches across competitions. The fact that they gave it up to Thursday’s opponents would appear to indicate that advancement out of the Round of 32 is no guarantee. A single goal by Club Brugge, without conceding, would give the Belgian team the victory in the two-legged match.
The last time the two clubs met, however, came in the 2015/2016 UEFA Champions League qualifying play-offs, a two-legged match that United won easily, 7-1 on aggregate.
Manchester United are also unbeaten at Old Trafford when facing Belgian teams in the UEFA tournaments. So it comes as no surprise that the home team are heavy favorites on Thursday, according to odds published by Sky Sports.
Oddsmakers have set Manchester United as 4/9 favorites. In other words, a wager of $9 would pay off only four if United fulfill expectations and take the victory. Club Brugge, the current Belgian domestic table-toppers, face 16/5 odds against their victory on the road. Odds of the match ending in a draw — which would, in this case, necessitate a penalty shootout — have been fixed at 16/5 against.
United have conceded only three goals in their last 10 Europa League home matches, according to stats compiled by Soccer Times, and have maintained a clean sheeting five of their seven games in the competition so far this season.
On the other hand, Club Brugge are currently enjoying a 15-game unbeaten streak across all competitions, as they sit on a ninepins cushion atop the Belgian table. But in the European second-tier tournament, the Blauw-Zwart have won only one game of their most recent seven, and have lost four of their last six away games in the tournament without a win.
The Manchester United vs. Club Brugge KV UEFA Europa League match licks off at 8 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. That’s 3 p.m. EST. noon PST in the United States, where B/R Live offers a pay-per-view online stream — the only outlet making the match available for viewing stateside.