Club Brugge will need to maintain their record unbeaten streak if they are to come through their UEFA Europa League quarter-final clash with Dnipro, but coach Michel Preud’homme is expecting a “poker game” in Ukraine.
A goalless draw in the first leg, which saw Club Brugge become the first side in Europa League history to go 11 games unbeaten from the start of the group stage, leaves the Belgian outfit needing to score at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev if they are to progress without the need for a penalty shootout.
An away goal for Club Brugge would see Dnipro requiring two in response and Preud’homme believes the permutations should make for a fascinating fixture.
Speaking after the first leg, he said: “I thought the draw was fair since both teams created opportunities. It was just a shame we could not make it 1-0 with the chance of [Jose] Izquierdo. That’s my only regret, because now we have to give more in Ukraine.
“At this level you have to finish such an opportunity. But the boys did their best, worked hard and tried to disrupt the defence of Dnipro.
“They [Dnipro] also had quality. [Goalkeeper] Mathew Ryan was again very important.
“We are still in the running for qualification and, most importantly, it’s up to us to score over there.
“It is a poker game, because Dnipro need to score against us. It remains to be seen how they will handle it.
“As I have said previously, Dnipro is a team with individual qualities and a strong organisation and therefore they are in the quarter-finals.
“Dnipro is perhaps our most complete opponent to date in this Europa League.”
While Club Brugge are the only unbeaten club left in the competition, Dnipro have lost four since the beginning of he group stage – as many as they have won.
The Belgians have triumphed in six of their seven away matches, but come up against opposition who have been victorious in their last three Europa League home games without conceding.
Valeriy Fedorchuk is suspended for the hosts after the midfielder picked up a booking in the first leg.
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