Club Brugge v Besiktas: Meunier seeks home comforts
Thomas Meunier has highlighted the importance of Club Brugge making the most of home advantage in their UEFA Europa League last-16 first-leg tie against Besiktas.
Brugge are battling on three fronts this term with Michel Preud'homme's side top of the Belgian Pro League and into the final of the Belgian Cup, which they contest against Anderlecht later this month.
A formidable home record has been central to their success - Brugge have not lost at the Jan Breydelstadion in any competition this term.
Besiktas are a side in form as well, though, and sit level on points with Galatasaray at the Turkish Super Lig summit, while a dramatic victory over Liverpool in the Europa League's previous round underlined their credentials in continental competition.
But Brugge full-back Meunier has no doubt that his team can claim a notable scalp, despite the injury absences of Bjorn Engels (knee) and Victor Vazquez (ankle).
"I think it's a fine draw. Personally, I don't think Besiktas is any stronger than we are," he told the club's official website ahead of Thursday's encounter.
"[Fellow Belgian side] Anderlecht showed they were stronger than Galatasaray [by beating them in the Champions League]. We should also be able to beat [Besiktas].
"It's an advantage to be playing them at home first. We have to try and create a gap in that game, so we can travel to Istanbul with an easy mind. The game in Turkey will be frenetic.
"They won't lack motivation, if you see how they played against Liverpool. Getting past them should be possible. In the Europa League, you get to play teams that are better than the average Belgian team. That comes as a great motivation."
However, Besiktas possess a striker in fine form in the shape of Demba Ba.
The former Chelsea man has 14 goals in 19 Super Lig appearances, while he has scored a further five times in the Europa League.
Head coach Slaven Bilic, who could be without Hutchinson (knee) and Jose Sosa (hamstring), is hoping the team take confidence from knocking Liverpool out of the tournament.
"We will be ready for Brugge in Thursday's match," he told Besiktas' official website. "After the Liverpool match we want to go for another important place in the club's history."