Our opponents. FC Twente

Last updated : 03 August 2007 By John Heyda
The match will be City's one and only home game of the pre-season and will feature much anticipated debuts by new Bluebirds Robbie Fowler and Ross Turnbull.

FC Twente are coming off their most successful season in quite some time, a 19-9-6 mark netting them 66 points and a fourth-place finish in the Dutch league last season. Last season was their best in the Eredivisie since the 1996/97 campaign, when they came in third. If you were to compile a Dutch league composite table for the last 12 years, Twente would stand 7th, with a 166-110-134 record and an average of 51 points per season. That's 1.5 points per game, which isn't half bad when you consider that the club has to do battle with perennial giants Ajax, Feyenoord, and PSV Eindhoven year in and year out.

Twente's greatest claim to fame is reaching the 1975 UEFA Cup final, where they met Borussia Moenchengladbach after dispatching Juventus in the semifinals. In those days fixtures were decided over two legs and Twente looked a good bet to lift the cup after drawing the first leg 0-0 at the Rheinstadion in Dusseldorf.

Borussia Moenchengladbach blasted Twente 5-1 in the second leg in Enschede, however, and the Tukkers had to settle for second place. More recently, Twente won the KNVB Cup in 2001, topping PSV in the final via a penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw. They reached the KNVB Cup final again three years later but lost to FC Utrecht 1-0.

Blaise N'Kufo is Twente's star performer, having led the club in scoring for each of the last four seasons. His 22 goals last season was the best for a Twente player since Dick van Dijk netted 30 in 1968/69. Since joining Twente for the 2003/04 season, he's netted an impressive 64 goals in 126 games. Born in Kinshasa, DR Congo, he was the first black player in the Swiss national team.

Kennedy Bakircioglu added 15 goals for Twente last season but has since moved on to Ajax. In an effort to replace Bakircioglu, the club has signed strikers Stein Huysegems, who netted six for Feyenoord last year, and Romano Joel Denneboom, who has come over from NEC Nijmegen. The club has picked up midfielder Youssouf Hersi from from Vitesse as well. Sander Boschker figures to appear in goal. He has made no less than 446 appearances for the club.

A familiar name on the roster is one Luke Wilkshire, formerly of Middlesbrough and Bristol City. The Australian appeared in 24 games for Boro in 2001/02 and 2002/03 before moving to Bristol City, where he played in no less than 110 games between 2003 and 2006. Wilkshire joined Twente for the 2006/07 campaign. He has 15 caps playing for the Australian national team.

Twente have high hopes for the future. The club moved into a new ground, the Arke Stadion, in 1998. The seating capacity is 13,250 but the club unveiled plans last year to expand capacity to just over 24,000 for the start of the 2008/09 season. That might not be such a bad idea as they sell out all home games presently. The club is giving thought to expanding further, to 36,000 seats, at some point in the future.