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Club Brugge sacks coach despite Champions League run

Club Brugge head coach Carl Hoefkens. Photo: Kurt Desplenter/BELGA/AFP

Belgian side Club Brugge on Wednesday sacked its coach Carl Hoefkens due to disappointing domestic results, despite him guiding the outsiders to the knockout stages of the Champions League. 

CEO Vincent Mannaert praised the former Belgium international defender as a “club man through and through”. 

“His role in the successful Champions League campaign this season should not be underestimated,” a statement said. 

But Mannaert said “our choices last summer did not bring the desired level of play and results in the league and the Belgian Cup”.

Hoefkens, 44, was a surprise choice when he was appointed as head coach in May after three seasons as assistant manager.

He led Club Brugge through to the round of 16 in the Champions League for the first time in its history during his brief tenure. 

The team qualified second in its group after impressive wins over Bayer Leverkusen, Porto and Atletico Madrid.

But disappointing performances in Belgium’s top flight have left the reigning champions 12 points off leaders Genk in fourth place.

The team was also knocked out of the Belgian Cup last week by Sint-Truiden in a 4-1 thrashing.

Club Brugge said they are “now working on the best possible succession”. 

The club will have a new coach installed before their Champions League campaign restarts with a tie against Portugal’s Benfica on 15 February. 

Club Brugge have enjoyed major domestic success and growing financial clout in recent years, winning the Belgian Pro League in five of the last seven seasons. 

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