Champions League playoffs: Man Utd draw Club Brugge, Celtic get Malmo
Manchester United have been drawn against Club Brugge in the Champions League playoffs.
Louis van Gaal's men take on the Belgian side -- who beat Panathinaikos 3-0 to advance to Friday's draw earlier this week after being down 2-1 from the first-leg -- with the first game to be played at Old Trafford.
Brugge, who finished second in the Belgian Pro League last season behind Gent after the six-team playoff competition, are managed by former Belgium goalkeeper Michel Preud'homme.
United have never played Club Brugge but they have a history of meeting Belgian opposition in Europe, including a record 10-0 victory over Anderlecht in the 1956-57 European Cup.
THE BEST OF ESPN FC
- Bell: Liverpool fans make themselves heard
- Cox: Leicester improving | Why Poch should stay
- Okwonga: Man United's market | City's title hopes
- Laurens: PSG's pre-UCL issues | Hertha's curse
- Highlights (U.S. only): Stuttgart 1-3 BVB
- FC TV: Champions League W2W4 | LVG wrong
- News | Transfer | Toe Poke | Fantasy | FC TV | Podcast | MLS
Van Gaal, however, knows the opposition well. The United manager took on the Belgian club during his second spell as Barcelona boss in 2002. Barca beat Club Brugge twice in the group stages that year.
"The club and myself have great history in the Champions League and although it is not ideal to have to qualify, we are looking forward to the challenge ahead against Club Brugge," Van Gaal told United's website. "This is the first time the two clubs have played against each other.
"It will be an interesting tie, Club Brugge are a good side, they reached the quarterfinals of the Europa League and finished second in the Belgian League last season."
Of the other ties, Italian team Lazio and German side Bayer Leverkusen captures the imagination, while Spain meets France as Valencia take on Monaco.
Leverkusen director of sport Rudi Voller admitted Lazio were one of the teams he was hoping to avoid in Friday's draw.
"At first glance, it's great -- Rome is the most beautiful city in the world," said the former Roma forward. "Unfortunately, they also play good football and you don't have to be an expert to know that, together with Monaco, they were the only team in the draw on a par with us."
In the other half of the draw, Celtic were drawn against Swedish champions Malmo in the playoff round, with the first leg taking place at Parkhead.
The Scottish champions avoided potential nightmare trips to Kazakhstan or Albania after beating Qarabag, of Azerbaijan, in the third qualifying round. But Malmo, European Cup finalists in 1979, have plenty of pedigree and have won the Swedish title in the last two seasons.
Malmo overturned a 2-0 deficit from their away leg with Red Bull Salzburg to win 3-2 on aggregate and have former Celtic player Jo Inge Berget in their ranks.
Non-champions route: Ties to be played Aug. 18-19 and Aug. 25-26:
Champions route: Ties to be played Aug. 18-19 and Aug. 25-26:
The 10 winners advance to the 32-team group-stage draw on Aug. 27 in Monaco.