Club Brugge – FC Salzburg: Club Facts
Plenty to say about our next Europa League opponent. FC Salzburg is a reputed opponent, with a glorious history, and a fabulous run so far this season. Find out all there is to know in our Club Facts!
THE MAN IN BLACK
A Bulgarian ref for the encounter with the Austrians: Mr. Georgi Kabakov will be backed by his compatriots Mr. Martin Margaritov and Mr. Diyan Valkov (linesmen), Mr. Georgi Todorov (fourth official) and Mr. Nikola Popov and Mr. Stanislav Todorov (goal line referees).
Observing the refs for UEFA will be Italian Mr. Matteo Simone Trefoloni. UEFA representative Mr. Michal Mertinyák comes from Slowakia.
This will be the 6th European fixture featuring a Belgian team with a Bulgarian ref. Earlier this season, the 32-year old lead the game between Anderlecht and Fenerbahçe (2-2). Back in 2015, he was in charge of the UEL preliminary setting up Standard de Liège with Bosnian Željezničar (0-1).
Mr. Kabakov is a Category 1 ref, the level just below the elite refs. Born in Plovdiv, he has been handling the whistle in international games since 2013.
Some ties between the players in both outfits: Ethan Horvath joined Fredrik Gulbrandsen at Norwegian Molde, while Karlo Letica will be meeting up with his Croatian U21 team mate Marin Pogracic.
No fond memories for Stefano Denswil, in his 20the European appearance for Club, seeing his Ajax ousted in the EL campaign of 2014.
Hans Vanaken will be wearing the Club jersey in Europe for the 25th time, while Marvelous Nakamba is up for a tenth appearance.
A century for Dion Cools if he plays: he could be featuring in his 100th game since joining Club!
In its first European game of 2019, Club takes on Austrian reigning champions FC Salzburg. For the 1,538th time, a Belgian team mans the European stage, and for the 46th time, an Austrian teams is the opposition. So far, Club has played 308 European games, while Salzburg's counter is currently at 185.
The two teams are yet to meet in Europe, even if Club has already faced an Austrian team ten times so far. In nine previous games, all of them featuring Rapid or Austria Wien, Club won 3 times, drew twice, and went down four times. On its own pitch, two out of four games ended in a Club win.
What's currently FC Salzburg (the team has had apparitions under the names Austria Salzburg, Wüstenrot Salzburg and Casino Salzburg) has been set up with Belgian teams on ten occasions. Away from home, this resulted in two wins and three defeats.
A bad run for Club in Europe: Club has been unable to win in 9 consecutive European home games, the last victory dating back to November 2015, a 1-0 win vs Legia Warsaw.
On the up side, Club has a run of three clean sheets.
Founded on 19 September 1933 as Austria Salzburg after the merger between Hertha and Rapid Salzburg, FC Red Bull Salzburg first made it to the top flight in 1953. The first success followed in 1971, when the team became runners-up, resulting in the first (unsuccessful) steps on the European stage. In 1974, the team made it to a first Austrian Cup final, where Austria Wien proved the better outfit. In 1994, the team from Salzburg made it to the European final for a first time, losing to Inter Milan in the Uefa Cup in two ties. That same season, the club managed to win its first league title, and two more titles followed so far. Sponsoring urged the team to change its name a number of times: from 1978 to 1997, the club was dubbed SV Casino Salzburg, from 1997 to 2005 SV Wüstenrot Salzburg, and since 2005 Red Bull Salzburg. When Red Bull took over the team back in 2005, a complete overhautl came about: the original colours (purple and white) were changed to red and white, the colours of the famous brand of energy drinks. As sponsored names are not allowed in European football, the team is called FC Salzburg on the European stage. One year after the take-over, the experienced coaching duo Lothar Matthäus and Giovanni Trapattoni headed to Salzburg to help the team to a new Austrian league title. Ever since, the club has been in full control of the Austrian league, winning 9 titles and 5 ups in the past 12 seasons.
The club went through two preliminaries on its road to the UEFA Champions League. Red Star Belgrade proved too high a hurdle, however, and the team was referred to the UEFA Europa League group stages, where it was set up in a group with RB Leipzig (Ger), Celtic FC (Sco) and Rosenborg BK (Nor). Salzburg won all of its six games, and not surprisingly won its group.
In the most successful season at Salzburg so far, Red Bull won its EL group last year, overcoming Olympique Marseille (Fra), Vitória Guimarães (Por) and Konyaspor (Tur), only to go on and eliminate Real Sociedad (Esp), Borussia Dortmund (Ger) and Lazio Roma (Ita). In the Semis, the team met with Olympique Marseille again, leading to a demise and the loss of the EL Final's dream.
So far, FC Salzburg is yet to lose an official game, be it in the league, the Cup or in Europe.
FC Salzburg is cruising towards its 6th consecutive league win. A 14 point lead over first opponents LASK Lins after just 18 match days came after 15 wins and three draws.
The encounters with Club will be the first offficial games for FC Salzburg in two months' time. The last official game dates back to 16 December, and the first official league game in 2019 is only after the return against Club Brugge, on 24 February.
So far, FC Salzburg has three records to its name in the UEFA Europa League: they're the first team to have won its group with the maximum of points. It wa the fifth time they survived the group stages without defeat, and they have won 37 EL games so far, beating Villarreal to the record with two games.
For the past 18 months, German Marco Rose has been coaching FC Salzburg. Earlier in his carreer, he coached the U16 and U18 at FC Salzburg; with the U18, he won the UEFA Youth League two years ago.
Leading the topscorer's tabel is Israeli forward Munas Dabbur, netting six goals in the group stages. Next Summer, Dabbur will be making the move to Sevilla FC (Esp).
Dabbur also tops the goal scorer's table in the Austrian league with nine goals, joined by his team mate Smail Prevljak. The Bosnian striker scored four in the last game of the first round in Austria against St. Pölten.
Salzburg's success also trickles down to its players, with 13 players seeing their efforts rewarded with selections for their national team.
Some transfer movements with the Austrians this Winter: left back Albert Vallci (Aut) [FC Wacker (Aut)], central midfielder Antoine Bernede (Fra) [Paris Saint-Germain (Fra)] and attacker Erling Braut Haland (Nor) [Molde BK (Nor)] joined, while midfielder Youba Diarra (Mli) back from a loan spell [TSV Hartsberg (Aut)] returned. On the out side, midfielders Amadou Haidara (Mli) [RB Leipzig (Ger)], Romano Schmid (Aut) [via Werder Bremen (Ger) on loan to Wolfsberger AC (Aut)], Reinhold Yabo (Ger) [Arminia Bielefeld (Ger)] and goalie Carlos Miguel (Bra) [on loan to Philadelphia Union (Usa)] left the team.