Preview: Osasuna vs. Club Brugge

Preview: Osasuna vs. Club Brugge

Osasuna and Club Brugge will both be vying for a place in the Europa Conference League group stage when they face off in the playoff round.

The Spanish side will have home advantage for the first leg, which takes place at the usually vociferous El Sadar.

After spending 16 years away from UEFA competition, Osasuna are finally set to end their long wait for European football after finishing in seventh place last season.

There was doubt over the summer as to whether Jagoba Arrasate’s side would be able to take their spot on the European stage after they were initially banned by UEFA for a match-fixing scandal that took place in the 2013-14 season.

Osasuna subsequently submitted an appeal to the Court of Arbitration (CAS), arguing that the current administration had not been involved in the scandal and notified authorities when they were made aware of the irregularities.

Following a conciliation process overseen by CAS, UEFA decided to allow Los Rojillos to compete in the Europa Conference League, ensuring that the Spanish side can now look forward to their first European game since losing to Sevilla in the semi-finals of the 2006-07 UEFA Cup.

Osasuna began the new campaign with an away win over Celta Vigo, but they will go into Thursday’s contest off the back of a disappointing result after suffering a 2-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

After spending the last two seasons competing in the Champions League, Club Brugge have had to settle for Europa Conference League football this season following their fourth-placed finish last term.

In contrast to Thursday’s opponents, Club Brugge have already had to negotiate two rounds of qualifying, beating Danish outfit Aarhus 3-1 over two legs before cruising to a 10-2 aggregate victory over Icelandic side KA in the previous round.

Ronny Deila’s charges enter Thursday’s first leg in scintillating form after dismantling RWDM Brussels on Sunday to claim a commanding 7-1 win, representing their fifth consecutive win across all competitions.

Impressively, Club Brugge have scored at least five goals in each of their last four matches, highlighting the sort of firepower that Deila has at his disposal.

Club Brugge will now look to claim their first competitive away win against a Spanish side after failing to do so in their previous 13 attempts (D5, L8).

Osasuna form (all competitions):

Club Brugge Europa Conference League form:

Club Brugge form (all competitions):

We say: Osasuna 1-1 Club Brugge
Club Brugge will be determined to utilise their recent European experience against Osasuna, but having failed to win a competitive game in Spain, we think that they will have to settle for a draw in Thursday’s first leg.

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