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Europa Conference League | Round of 16 | 1st Leg
Mar 7, 2024 at 5.45pm UK
Aker Stadion
Club Brugge

2 - 1

Stenevik (43'), Gulbrandsen (90+2')
Hagelskjaer (79')
FT(HT: 1-0)
De Cuyper (85' pen.)

Preview: Molde vs. Club Brugge - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa Conference League clash between Molde and Club Brugge, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Molde and Club Brugge square off in the first leg of their Europa Conference League last-16 tie on Thursday evening.

While the visitors won their group before Christmas, Molde were required to upset the odds in overcoming Legia Warsaw in their playoff contest last month.

Match preview

Club Brugge's Thiago celebrates scoring their second goal with Jorne Spileers on November 30, 2023© Reuters

Sitting off the pace in the Belgian top flight and already out of their domestic cup, Club Brugge certainly cannot claim to be enjoying the best of campaigns.

However, with just two games of the regular domestic season remaining before the playoffs and occupying a spot in the last 16 of this competition, Ronny Deila has an opportunity to change that.

Recording a 3-0 victory away at Genk on Sunday felt like a pivotal result on the back of defeats to Anderlecht in the league and Union SG in the cup.

Nevertheless, it was still just their third win from eight matches in all competitions, and Deila will be eager to take advantage of the opportunity that has arisen on the continent.

Club Brugge came through their group unbeaten before Christmas, beating fellow Norwegian outfit Bodo/Glimt home and away to help them to 16 points from their six games.

Those associated with Molde will have taken note of how Club Brugge negotiated that double-header, yet the hosts in this competition have since endured an extended break in preparation for the new season.

Molde finished in fifth position, as many as 19 points adrift of champions Bodo/Glimt, yet they have since returned to competitive action with one of the most notable European victories in their history.

With Legia Warsaw having beat Aston Villa and outperformed AZ Alkmaar in the group stages, they were fancied to defeat Molde, yet it was Erling Moe's side who ran out 6-2 victors on aggregate.

Although Molde were adjudged to have underperformed in the Europa League group stages, collecting just seven points, Qarabag FK's run to the last 16 of that competition has highlighted that they were perhaps harshly judged at the time.

Molde Europa Conference League form:

Molde form (all competitions):

Club Brugge Europa Conference League form:

Club Brugge form (all competitions):

Team News

Molde's Eirik Hestad celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on February 22, 2024© Reuters

Barring any injury issues, Moe may be prepared to stick with the Molde starting lineup from the second leg against Legia Warsaw.

Veton Berisha is an obvious alternative to come into the attack, but Magnus Wolff Eikrem seems likely to get the nod unless he drops into a deeper role.

Eirik Hestad is likely to retain his spot in central midfield unless Kristian Eriksen is available again.

Meanwhile, Deila could be happy to stick with the Club Brugge side that stormed to victory over Genk, even though two of their three goals came in the final 17 minutes.

Even though Bjorn Meijer impressed upon his introduction, the left-sided player is expected to remain on the substitutes' bench, although Casper Nielsen is an option to return in midfield, dependent on how Deila opts to line up.

Molde possible starting lineup:
Petersen; K. Haugen, Hagelskjaer, E. Haugen; Linnes, Hestad, Daehli, Kaasa, Lovik; Eikrem, Gulbrandsen

Club Brugge possible starting lineup:
Jackers; Odoi, Ordonez, Mechele, Cuyper; Vetlesen, Onyedika, Vanaken; Olsen, Jutgla, Skoras

SM words green background

We say: Molde 1-2 Club Brugge

With Molde on a high after taking such an impressive scalp in the previous round, they will back themselves to make further progress. However, we feel that they may have to come from behind to do so as we predict a hard-earned away victory for the Belgian outfit.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Group A

QSlovan Bratislava631210

Group B

QM. Tel Aviv650115

Group C

QDinamo Zagreb63039
4KF Ballkani61144

Group D


Group E

QAston Villa641113
4Zrinjski Mostar61144

Group F


Group G

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Group H

4Spartak Trnava60151

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