With grenades such as Valencia v Monaco and Lazio v Bayer Leverkusen exploding around them, Manchester United can count themselves lucky to have pulled Club Brugge out of the hat for their Champions League play-off.
Although it could’ve undoubtedly gone a lot worse for the Red Devils, supporters are urged against over-elation following their drawing of the Belgian runners up.
No English outfit has failed to navigate their pre-group-stage fixture since Everton succumbed to the charms of Juan Roman Riquelme’s Villarreal in 2004/05, but the result of this tie isn’t as foregone a conclusion as it initially seems.
The first cause for Man Utd trepidation is the Pro League outfit have home advantage in the second-leg.
While Brugge have spent almost a decade in Champions League exile, they’re no continental novices.
Michel Preud’homme, regarded as one of the brightest coaches operating outside of Europe’s top leagues, guided his side to the quarter-final of last season’s Europa League.
They eventually fell to finalists Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, but not before more reputable and wealthy adversaries such as Besiktas were overcame.
None of their victims boast the same strength United boast, but they certainly shouldn’t be underestimated.
With Louis van Gaal’s side shortening to 20/1 to win the Champions League outright (that makes them two points shorter than Arsenal, who are guaranteed a place in the competition), it seems the bookies have already taken this liberty.