Sint-Truiden v KV Mechelen
Friday night’s Pro League game sees Sint-Truiden hosting seventh-placed Mechelen. Both teams are in good form now, the home side are unbeaten in 4 games, including a 1-0 win away at league leaders Union. Mechelen meanwhile have four wins and a draw from their last six games, and with a game in hand, could find themselves just three points off Anderlecht in fourth place should they win it.
The home side are joint-top in the division for home games in which BTTS has landed, with both sides scoring in 10 of 14 games. De Kanaries have only kept 2 clean sheets in front of their own fans this season, but they will certainly give Mechelen a game here, having scored in all but 2 league fixtures at Stayen in 2021/22.
Mechelen meanwhile have great pedigree for BTTS, with 18 of their 28 games this season seeing goals for both teams. In the last few weeks this has only got more common, with 5 of their last 6 games in the league, and also 6 of their last 7 away from home. Their away form has been more patchy than their home form, with 3 wins and 4 defeats in those games, but their win at Antwerp in their last away game will give them confidence going forward.
They have conceded 2.15 goals per game away from home, and also score 1.46, surprising for a team firmly in the play-off positions, but this has meant that all of their away games involving mid-table sides (9th-16th) have seen both sides score.
I see no reason for this not to continue here, both sides are in good scoring form, the home side with 4 goals in 4 relatively tough games, meanwhile Mechelen have 13 in their last 6 games, and both sides have produced big performances in tough games that will leave them both feeling confident of securing the 3 points here today.
Cercle Brugge v Genk
Kicking off Saturday sees eighth versus ninth, in what could prove to be the last chance for any of the sides currently outside the top-8 to mount a serious challenge to the sides within it. Cercle Brugge looked for all the world to be stealing a play-off spot just a few weeks ago, but with only 1 win in their last 5, and still 5 points behind today’s visitors Genk, it doesn’t look like they will be able to bridge the gap, especially with just 15 points left to play for.
As much as hosts Cercle will want to win this game, they really have struggled since Thibo Somers’ injury at the end of January. Having barely played prior to their run of 8 wins in 9 games, he started every match of that run, with his final game being their last game of that winning run. Since his spell on the sidelines they have only won once, against rock-bottom Beerschot. Although his goalscoring record was poor for someone playing as a centre-forward, his linkup play is sorely missed and has hampered the Groen en Zwart’s attack in recent weeks.
Throughout the season so far, Cercle have only beaten a side above them in the table twice at home this season. They have only mustered slightly over a goal per game at home, and they will struggle even more this game with Hannes Van Der Bruggen missing in midfield after picking up 5 yellow cards. The Belgian has started 21 Pro League games for Cercle Brugge this season, and has only been absent for one of his sides wins.
A quick glance at the form book would lead you to believe that Genk have been similarly poor over the last few weeks, however, this is slightly misleading. They have lost four of their last five away from home, but this has included 3 of the current top-4, and the one other loss was against an admittedly in-form OH Leuven side.
A win for Genk would all but confirm their position in the play-offs (not mathematically, but realistically), and they will be encouraged by their hosts slump in form, and their injury concerns. Considering how much the home side have struggled in recent weeks, 1.65 for Draw No Bet is great value for Genk, who have a good record against mid-table sides and should be good enough for the 3 points here.
Kortrijk v Union St-Gilloise
Our second Saturday game in the Pro League has the potential to be a very one-sided affair. Kortrijk host league leaders Union, who whilst not in the best form they have been in all season, are still comfortably one of the best sides in the league this year.
Kortrijk meanwhile have been struggling in recent weeks, with four defeats in their last five Pro League games, including a 2-1 loss to Beerschot. Their form only improves very slightly when looking at their home fixtures, with a win and a draw alongside three losses in their last five games.
Their record against the top-4 sides won’t inspire confidence for De Kegels either, they have lost all of their home games, and overall have lost four of the six games they have played, including the reverse fixture which saw Union run out comfortable 2-0 winners.
Union, whilst turning in some poor performances in recent weeks should still be too strong for their hosts. They are unbeaten in 8 away league games, winning 7 and drawing just once, whilst overall they have scored 2.57 goals per game and conceded just 0.64, a number helped by being the only side to keep clean sheets in over half of their matches.
Taking 35 points from an available 42 shows that Union are a real force to be reckoned with away from home, and they will be confident of adding to that tally against their West Flanders opposition. Only one side has been able to prevent Union scoring on the road this season, and with Kortrijk only scoring more than once on five occasions this season, compared to Union’s 12 of 15, it seems unlikely they will be able to mount a serious challenge.
Seraing v Club Brugge
Our final game of Saturday sees two sides experiencing contrasting fortunes in several ways. Seraing are bottom of the form table, and second-bottom of the Pro League while reigning champions Club Brugge are top of the form table over the last 5 games, and second in the league overall.
Seraing have won just once in their last 13 games, also managing one draw, losing the other 11 fixtures, and failing to score in 10 of those 13 games. Though capable of occasionally giving sides in mid-table a game, they have played 7 games against the current top-4 sides and have lost all 7. Their 3 home games against these sides have seen them lose 10-0 on aggregate.
Seraing are now 5 points from safety, and having failed to score in half of their home games, 7 of 14 it is not hard to see why they are so far off the pace. They concede over 1.5 goals per game at home, and to boot have also scored the fewest number of goals in the entire Pro League, with just 26 goals in 29 games.
Club Brugge meanwhile are starting to put some pressure on Union ahead of the play-offs, now just 7 points behind and looking to close the gap further before the end of the regular season. They have only failed to score once in 14 away games, and will be brimming with confidence after beating third-placed Antwerp 4-1 last time out on their travels.
Brugge are unbeaten in games against sides in the bottom-half of the table, playing 15, winning 11 and drawing 4, which certainly doesn’t bode well for a side as out-of-form as Seraing, and with Brugge arriving having won 4 of their last 5 games, a win for the away side seems almost certain here.
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