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10 FACTS ABOUT ZULTE WAREGEM

PUBLISHED

15:29 17th September 2013

by Nick Taylor

As we build up to Latics' first ever Europa League game, we take a look at our inaugural opponents.

Latics line-up for the first time in continental competition on Thursday when they take on Belgian Pro League side Zulte Waregem.

To get to know our opponents a little bit better we have come up with these 10 facts:

1. Sportvereniging (SV) Zulte Waregem is a partnership of Zultse VV and KSV Waregem formed in 2001.

2. Zulte Waregem usually play their home games at Regenboogstadion (the Rainbow Stadium), but their Europa League their games will be held in Brugge at the Jan Breydelstadion.

3. This is current manager Francky Dury's second spell in charge of the club, having managed Zulte Waregem since their inception in 2001 until 2010 when he moved to manage KAA Gent and latterly Belgium Under 21s, before returning to Regenboogstadion in December 2011.

4. Zulte are backed by Chairman Willy Naessens, a businessman who started in the construction industry, specialising in industrial buildings and swimming pools.

5. In the 2005/06 season Zulte Waregem won their first piece of major Belgian silverware when they beat Excelsior Mouscron 2-1 in the Belgian Cup final, having beaten Verbroedering Geel, VC Westerlo and Standard Liege on the way.

6. Speaking of Standard Liege, they were one of four sides that Zulte beat in the 2008/09 season that earned the club the tag of giant killers during their forming years in the Belgian Pro League. They beat Anderlecht 4-0, Standard Liege 2-1 away, Club Brugge 3-1 and Genk 2-1.

7. The 2012/13 season was the most successful domestic campaign in the club's history, as they finished second behind Anderlecht in the regular season and the Championship play-off.

8. Zulte Waregem's most recent European campaign saw them reach the last 32 of the UEFA Cup in 2006/07 in which they were eliminated by Newcastle United over two legs, with former Latics forward Antoine Sibierski on the score sheet for the Magpies.

9. They currently sit fifth in the Belgian Pro League, six points behind Standard Liege who have won all seven of their games so far this campaign.

10. Up until Sunday Zulte Waregem were unbeaten in the league, but lost 5-2 away to Genk, the team that knocked them out of the 2012/13 Belgian Cup 5-1 on aggregate. Former Leeds United loanee Habib Habibou and Thorgan Hazard, brother of Chelsea's Eden Hazard were on the score sheet.

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