KV Mechelen v OH Leuven
KV Mechelen hosts OH Leuven, who somewhat surprisingly sit in 4th place in the Jupiler Pro League.
With a spacious but slightly exaggerated first away win of the season, KV Mechelen halted the slumbering worries of the Mechelen supporters. It was yet again Rob Schoofs and Geoffry Hairemans who pulled a collectively good KVM over the line with a combined three goals. With this, coach Buijs’ team seems to have recovered after a weak season start that included naive football. The sparkling “Dutch” football Buijs wanted to play then now seems to have made way for a slightly more realistic approach. Nonetheless, we expect Mechelen to continue trying to bring in decent football, though with more experienced and defensive-minded players.
OHL have been named the season’s revelation and have 16 out of a possible 24 points so far this season. They only lost against leaders Antwerp and champions Club Brugge. New striker Mario Gonzalez is on 3 goals in 3 games and could be an important factor in the battle for a play-off spot. He could get his first starting role against Mechelen. Also playmaker Holzhauzer looks to be the player who nearly became a Golden Shoe winner in 2020 again. He is sprinkling passes as he did in his wonder season at Beerschot.
There is a healthy rivalry between the two supporters’ clans. It cannot be called a real derby, but it is always a match to look forward to. Given OHL’s excellent form and high odds, it is worth betting on them in this match.
Standard Liège v Club Brugge
Everyone at Club Brugge is living on a pink cloud after the fantastic start to their Champions League campaign. Last Tuesday, they provided the surprise of the matchday by winning 0-4 away in Porto. This win was not even an exaggeration as they dominated the home side almost the entire match. They are now sitting top of their group, having also recorded a win against Leverkusen on the first matchday.
In the Jupiler Pro league, the current champions are back on the front foot after winning their last five games. So here, they are in form as well. Coach Hoefkens also rotates a lot, which benefits the fitness of the large squad. Some changes may also be made this matchday, although the players have had plenty of time to recover from the European away trip. Lang, Buchanan and Mata are still injured.
Standard have recorded three, admittedly close, wins in a row, moving away from the bottom of the standings. The football, on the other hand, is not yet fluent. There is still an ongoing search for an effective striker. Emond is being counted on, but he cannot yet find the form of a few years ago.
The historical statistics speak against Club Brugge. They haven’t won away in Liege since 2017. Standard owe that excellent home reputation to their supporters. But taking into account the quality of the selections, the difference this season is quite big. In principle, this should be a win for Club Brugge, although Standard can always bring a little more energy at home. Purely on quality difference, only one winner is possible.
RSC Anderlecht v KV Kortrijk
Anderlecht are big favourites here according to the bookies, despite the dip in form they are experiencing. The newspapers are even already using the word “crisis”. The supporters are quiet for now because the team could finally qualify for a European competition after four years, but in the Jupiler Pro League, Felice Mazzu’s team are looking at a 14-point deficit against Antwerp after eight matchdays. The defensice combo of Debast-Hoedt- Delcroix received praise at the start of the season, but now seems not so reliable after all. With the arrival of Jan Vertonghen, Anderlecht hoped to upgrade the defence, but he is out for now with a calf injury. Other newcomer Diawara also made a poor showing against Westerlo, and look like the defence is vulnerable against quick players.
Adnan Custovic made his debut as coach of KV Kortrijk with a much-needed win over Eupen, but in his first home game his men lost to an efficient KV Mechelen: 1-4. The programme is not getting any easier either. They travel to Anderlecht on Sunday, host Antwerp after the international break and then play in Genk: a solid triple-header.
Custovic wants to break with the cautious football Kortrijk brought under previous coach Belhocine so they will not park the bus in defence. Anderlecht, on the other hand, will want to make the game at home and will claim possession of the ball. They can only be satisfied with three points. So it will leave space to the opponent. For that reason, we expect Kortrijk to be able to score a goal against Anderlecht’s out-of-form defence.
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