For the third time – in the current football season – we will face proud league leaders KRC Genk. For the third time, this match is also programmed on a weekday. After the defeat against OHL, our Kemphans will be looking to restore honour, as well as the first points win against the Limburg top team.
Against OHL, coach Jonas De Roeck had to field no less than three other players compared to the previous match in Bruges. Bryan Reynolds was injured, Nacer Chadli was ill and Halil Akbunar had been transferred back to a Turkish team due to homesickness. Two logical replacements were fixed: Edi Jordanov and Tuur Dierckx. For Chadli’s absence, however, it was a case of looking into who our coach was going to bring to the kick-off. In the end, the choice fell on Thomas Van den Keybus. Not counting the two Cup games, it had been almost four months since Thomas started. The last time this happened was at the Bosuil against Antwerp.
Losing twice in a row in the league, is odd or rare at Kuipje. For that, we have to make a 3-year leap in time. We then lost three in a row in November/December 2019: OHL (1-2), Union (0-3) and Beerschot (0-1). So the Genkies have been warned.
Wouter Vrancken did something at the weekend that he had barely done this season. He let two base players – El Khannouss and Onuachu – sit on the bench to give them a game’s rest. In minute 72, however, they were allowed to fill in. Another 2 players were forced to stay on the sidelines with a yellow suspension: Daniel Munoz and Joseph Paintsil. At Genk, there are a handful of players walking around who have a high goal participation rate: at number one: flanker Mike Trésor (39%). Incomprehensible to many that Robert Martinez left him at home from Qatar last season. On the other flank is number two: Ghanaian Joseph Paintsil (33%). Together they account for 21 assists already, most of which their tree-length striker Paul Onuachu (14x) just has to tap in. Right-back Daniel Munoz (5 goals and 5 assists) is another player to keep an eye on and captain Bryan Heynen also earned a place in Martinez’s World Cup squad.
If that is not enough, they also have the bolstering of Bilal El Khannouss. His good season – before the start of this football season he had just 17 minutes of all-time playing time in the first team – did get rewarded with a ticket Qatar, albeit for Morocco. Incidentally, Genk are hoping to break the league record for Bilal in terms of transfer fee. If you know that Charles De Ketelaere was sold off to Milan for a sloppy 35 million…
The Walloon-Brabant banker is designated for this game. It will be his tenth match this season. The previous encounter at the Kuipje was on 1 October last year when we won against Zulte Waregem 2-0. In his All-Time stats, this will be his 20th for our Kemphans. We then won 11x, drew 4x and lost 4x – including 2x in our own stadium. KRC Genk, by the way, is the team he has whistled most often in his career. No less than 51 times, he was allowed to bring a match of the Limburgers to a good end. A first is that this will be the first time he will be whistling a match between the two teams.
Text and statistics: Peter Boons