Hein Vanhaezebrouck also knew that playing at the Kuipje is not the easiest game to play. His team also had to face an enthusiastic and freshly playing Westerlo. Despite our Kemphans going behind twice, they did not give up and resolutely went on the attack, which again led to an exciting match rich in goals.
The spectators in attendance and the (possible) TV viewers have been spoiled with attractive Kempen football all season long. Architect De Roeck – formerly a promising defender himself – always opts for the attack. He knows well enough that this style of play puts a bit more pressure on our defenders, so we might swallow a goal a bit more easily, but this is football that supporters and every football fan wants to see. Before a game of the Pearl of the Kempen, nobody falls asleep, because anything could happen at any moment.
Despite the January sale of 2 attacking players, this team continues to score. To be fair, we do have to admit that on the previous matchday, the Gent defence did look very clumsy when scoring the 3 goals, but this was to the credit of our Kemphians who made the East Flames commit these mistakes. The fact that the three goals also came about without an assist speaks volumes.
Against Gent, the recovered Thomas Van den Keybus and goal scorer Nacer Chadli returned to the team and our Japanese acquisition Yusuke Matsuo got his first playing minutes. Against STVV, he will at least find some of his compatriots back. Lukas Van Eenoo scored his first goal of the season, for left back Maxim De Cuyper it was even the sixth time he made the nets tremble. Together with KRC Genk’s Daniel Munoz, he is now the best scoring defender in our Jupiler Pro League. Max must be careful not to stay on the sidelines next game (Union), though, as he saw a yellow item appear in front of him for the fourth time this season. Sinan and Thomas are also in the same boat and risk a mandatory week’s rest in case of another yellow card.
Did you know:
- STVV is currently the opponent in the current line-up in the JPL, whom we have encountered most often (45). Only against Lokeren (48) have we already played more matches in professional football.
- We have our highest win ratio against the Limburgers (55.6%), and that they share this percentage with Antwerp, with us achieving the same percentage in fewer matches played between them (18).
- We have scored in every game at Stayen since 2005.
- Our coach Jonas De Roeck became a professional coach at Stayen for the first time on 14 August 2017. He would eventually keep the Canaries under his wing for 39 games.
The Limburgers have been in the news in recent days with the change of their stadium name. Stayen was named when the club was founded in 1927, which was a local dialect word for “Staden”, an old district of the city on the west side. 106 years later, it comes with a mouthful of names. Henceforth, we will play at Daio Wasabi Stayen Stadium. For fans, Daio Wasabi Farm is a popular Japanese place for tourists, known for its water mills and the river that runs through it.
On the sporting front, German coach Bernd Hollerbach – who is leaving at the end of the season – currently has the Canaries stationed in a nice ninth place and are in the running for the PO2 ticket at the end of the season. As many as five Japanese are in the starting eleven: goalkeeper Schmidt, defender Hashioka and attacking pawns Okazaki, Hayashi and Hara. Only the last one has not yet been called up to represent his country at the big boys. The other six players who went on to lose to Anderlecht last week were: Wolke Janssens, Robert Bauer, captain Jorge Teixeira, Rocco Reitz, Frank Boya and winger Aboubakary Koita. The two Germans, Reitz and Bauer have been on the payroll of 2 top German teams in the past, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Werder Bremen respectively.
Captain Teixeira has been in the professional scene for 16 years. You could already find him in Portugal, Cyprus, Israel, Switzerland, Italy, England and Belgium, where he was first under contract at Standard for 2 years. Top marksman is Gianni Bruno with 11 goals. Besides, it was he who made sure the Limburgers walked away with the three points at Kuipje last October.
Just 3 weeks ago, we had this referee as a guest at Kuipje. It will also be the third time this season that we will meet him as match referee. Westerlo is also right at the top of his list of flown matches. He played eight matches for us, resulting in five wins, two draws and one defeat. Our opponent STVV also has a positive record with him. They got him four times already: 3 wins and 1 defeat. Remarkably, he has whistled all of those 4 STVV matches away from home. So it is his first appearance as head referee at the Daio Wasabi Stayen Stadium.
Text and statistics: Peter Boons