Thursday 13 April 2017

Opposition profile: RSC Anderlecht

United make the trip to Brussels to face RSC Anderlecht in the Europa League quarter-final on Thursday. 

But who are the Belgian side and what can the Reds expect from them? United Faithful has the opposition lowdown...

Founded in 1908, Anderlecht play their home matches in the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Brussels (capacity 21,845). 
The club are in the process of switching to a new home and look set to move to the 60,000 capacity Eurostadium, which will be the Belgium national side's new stadium and a Euro 2020 venue.

Anderlecht, or the "Purple and Whites" (the colour of their kit) are the most successful side in the country's history with 33 Belgian top-flight titles and five European trophies, more than any other team (sound familiar?)....

Anderlecht's manager is Rene Weiler, who is in his first season at the helm having replaced Albanian boss Besnik Hasi last summer. 
The 43-year-old arrived from FC Nurnberg in Germany and was once capped by Switzerland after he established himself in his homeland with Schaffhausen and then Aarau. 

Much like United, Anderlect have earned a reputation for championing local homegrown young players.
Their current squad is no different, with seven of their first team having risen through the club's youth system.

Considered one of the brightest young prospects in world football, 19-year-old Belgian playmaker Youri Tielemans seems destined for the top, with a number of big European clubs reportedly tracking his progress.

An intelligent all-around midfielder with a superb passing range and an eye for goal, he's already been capped by the Belgium senior team and has been voted Belgian Young Player of the Year for the past two seasons.

Captain Sofiane Hanni is their creative string-puller in chief, and highly rated Romanian Nicolae Stanciu is another player the Reds must watch out for. 

He became the most expensive signing by a Belgian club when joining from Steaua Bucharest in the summer. 

Anderlecht were, of course, our first ever opponents in European competition in 1956.
United won the first game 2-0 in Belgium before Matt Busby's rampant Reds racked up an astonishing 10-0 win at Maine Road - a margin which remains United's biggest competitive victory. 

Anderlecht have a chequered recent history in Europe, but enjoy many successes during the most successful period in their history.
During a memorable decade from 1974 - 1984, the club won two European Cup Winners Cup (74 and 76), two European Super Cups in the same years and a UEFA Cup win in 1982-83. 

This tie with United marks their first quarter-final since 1996-97 when they were knocked out of the UEFA Cup by eventual winners Inter Milan (an omen, perhaps...)

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