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Meeting the Opposition: S.V. Zulte Waregem

As Wigan are about to take their baby steps into the big bad world of Europa League. And here is the first in what I hope will be a serious of meeting the opposition. Where I take a look at the team we are going to face in Europe.

Harold Cunningham

Based in the Belgium Town of Waregem, the team is the merger of two former Belgium teams Zulte S.V.and K.S.V. Waregem in 2001. Waregem playing at the higher levels of Belgium football with spells in out of the top flight of Belgium football; Zulte S.V. had not reach such heights.

But with Waregem in financial difficulties (in 2001), the two teams joined together and within a year had reached the second division. The destiny of this team was on the up, as they started to build upon the new solid foundations that had been set buy the merger of two clubs.

Maintaining their place in the second division until their eventual promotion to the top flight in the 2004/05 season. They rocked to the League title and burst onto the scene into the Belgium Pro League the following season. Another fantastic season followed as they went onto win the Belgium domestic Cup and qualify for the UEFA Cup.

Following a win early in the season in the Belgium Super Cup. They marched on in the European Competition, reaching the round of 32 where they lost at the hands 4-1 on aggregate to Newcastle United, as their European adventure came to an end.

Under the guidance of Francky Dury (a former Zulte S.V. midfielder) the team had under gone a fantastic spell, and the partnership would continue till the summer of 2010. In the space of 18 months following his departure the club would have three other managers, before his return in December of 2011.

Dury has managed to squeeze more success out of the side as they overachieved massively last season and finished in second position. The team entering the Champions League following their fantastic season. Could they make the group stages?

Unfortunately two heavy defeats followed as they crashed out of the third qualifying round of the Champions League against PSV Eindhoven losing 5-0 on aggregate. It was a different story in their Europa League qualifying after squeezing past Cypriot side APOEL.

Now the next venture in our contrasting stories is a match in Belgium for the first in Group D of the 2013/14 Europa League.