Zulte Waregem – KVC Westerlo

The comments after the lost game against Genk were again laudatory. What a clever comeback even after an undeserved 0-2 deficit. However, the Limburg leaders showed their qualities and punished the slightest mistake in our defence.

KVC Westerlo

Thus, our Kemphans started the new year with a three out of nine. In the Jan Breydel Stadium against Cercle, we got just a bit more points than we deserved, then in the two games at Kuipje we got just a bit too few. If you see which chances we created against the best defence in the country, we can rightly be proud of that. A strong goalkeeper Vandevoordt made sure the third goal was not scored after all, and we had to go to the shower without points again.

Again, no Chadli in the team either. However, he was announced. After dinner, he suddenly felt unwell and developed a fever. Rubin Seigers was dropped into the squad last-minute as a result.  Thomas Van den Keybus again made himself noticed by being involved in the two Westel goals. First, he had himself expertly tapped in the eleven-metre mark to then finish off with his well-known distance shot – what a phenomenal shot again. Sinan Bolat played his 400th professional game against his former club Genk.  In that field, only Roman Neustädter (539 matches) and Nacer Chadli (484 matches) do better, and Luckie Van Eenoo is not far off with his 395 appearances. Our captain, by the way, is looking for his 100th decisive phase in his career. He currently stands at 51 goals and 48 assists.

January is also the traditional bargain month in football. The media especially mentioned Lyle Foster’s name – Vince “The Prince” Kompany even sat incognito at the Kuip to admire him before that. Or did the former top defender come for his former T2 Jonas De Roeck, or for his friend Wouter Vrancken? As long as nothing has been signed, everything will remain a rumour and guessing the truth.

SV Zulte Waregem

What a fine victory the West Flemish booked on the previous matchday. Beating Anderlecht at home remains nice, even if the Brusselers are playing one of their worst seasons ever. On Wednesday, they led 0-1 through the inevitable Zinho Gano – his sixth goal in ten appearances – Benito Raman scored the 2-1 within the minute and Ndour and Fadera managed to put the balance back in Zulte Waregem’s favour.

Coach Mbaye Leye’s team received an injection of quality after the holidays. Experienced rotten in the box Ruud Vormer and Christian Brüls joined the core.  Three ex-Red Devils, Bossut – Derijck and Vossen, are also still in the core of 18 and our ex-captain Nicolas Rommens is the only player to kick off in all matches. Right-back Ciranni will not feature, he watched his fifth yellow cardboard against Anderlecht.

The Boers know they need to take points and will certainly not adopt defensive tactics. Currently, the team’s strength lies in the fact that they play with a formidable mentality and as a close-knit team. At their own Elindus Arena – the former Rainbow Stadium – the Essevee consistently get good results against KVC Westerlo. It will be the 13th edition and in the previous encounters they won six times, played four draws and lost only twice. So our Kemphians are warned!

Bram Van Driessche

The 37-year-old referee has already played 15 matches in the JPL this season. He has also been allowed to be the match referee on the international stage. There are already 3 Conference League, 1 international and 1 UEFA Youth League match to his name. In our own country, he whistled one match for us. On matchday 16, we then played a 1-1 draw at Union SG.  He also came into action once for Zulte Waregem: at Cercle they also played 1-1 then. If we look a little further into the past, this will be his tenth game for our Kemphans, including already twice an identical match:

04/03/2017: SV Zulte Waregem – KV Westerlo (2-2) with goals by Benji De Ceulaer and Silvère Ganvoula for Westel. Nice detail is that current Waregem coach Leye was still on the pitch at the time and gave an assist for the equaliser.

25/09/2015: SV Zulte Waregem – KVC Westerlo (4-2):  Cools and Schouterden then scored for us and again Leye was the match’s flavour maker with his two goals and one assist.

Text and statistics: Peter Boons