Ryan confident of Brugge progress in Europe

Mat Ryan was unbeaten in Brugge's six-goal rout (Getty)

Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan said he was confident Club Brugge would be too strong for Aalborg of Denmark in the knockout phase of the UEFA Europa League.

His Belgian club is having a great season: it is leading the first division, it is in the quarter-finals of the Belgian Cup and it has reached the round of 32 in the UEL.

The draw has pitted Brugge with the Danish Cup winner and Ryan, whose heroics in Turin enabled his side to snare a vital 0-0 draw against Torino, said he was confident of progress when the ties take place in late February.

"I think we can be happy with the draw," Ryan said.

"There were some big teams playing in the big leagues which we have avoided.

"We probably are favourites to reach the round of 16 but in football anything can happen."

Ryan said Brugge's fans would probably expect Michel Preud'homme's side to get through to the first knockout round of the competition proper.

"It is very possible that our fans will expect us to win but I myself do not know a lot about the team just yet," he said.

"But we go into every match to win games and we share this attitude with our fans."

Ryan said he was glad to have avoided such big teams as Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Inter Milan and Roma but he would have greeted any eventuality of the draw.

"Each team provides a different challenge and we were looking forward to any opposition we would have drawn," he said.

"We play at home in the second leg.

"Everyone here seems to prefer playing away first where you can get a positive result then seal the deal at home in the return.

"But for me it does not really matter because it's all about the performance on the night."

Ryan is expected to be in goal for Australia for the AFC Asian Cup in January but before that he and his Brugge teammates must negotiate a few important domestic matches.

With two-thirds of the regular season gone Brugge leads Anderlecht by four points.

On Thursday (AEDT) Brugge is away to Mechelen in the first leg of the Belgian Cup.

Next Tuesday Brugge is at home to Genk in the league and it will finish off its 2014 commitments with a game at bottom club Lierse on 28 December before the first division goes into a short winter break.

Source SBS