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    Club Brugge sack Hoefkens despite reaching Champions League last 16

    Club Brugge have sacked head coach Karl Hofkens despite the Belgian taking them to the Champions League round of 16 in his seven months in charge.

    Club Brugge defied the odds by finishing above Bayer Leverkusen and Atlético Madrid to advance to the knockout stages for the first time in a tournament where Benfica are more than two matches away.

    However, defending champions Belgium are struggling domestically as they sit fourth in the league and were knocked out of the cup by St. Truidens last week.

    Hofkens was previously an assistant coach with the under-18s, under-21s and first team, before taking over as head coach in May.

    Brugge confirmed Hofkens’ departure in a statement on its official website on Tuesday.

    Club CEO Vincent Mannart said: “Karl’s contribution and commitment to the club and his assistant has been greatly appreciated.

    “His role in the successful Champions League campaign this season cannot be underestimated either.

    “Our choice last summer did not provide the desired level of performance and did not lead to getting into the Belgian league and the Belgian Cup. We are currently working on the best succession.”

    Brugge will return to action on January 8, going to visit the leader of the Belgian first division Genk.

    They greet Benfica at the Jan Breidel Stadium on 15 February, where their first leg of their round of 16 will take place, before heading to Portugal three weeks later.

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