Last week we were introduced to the concept of Mazzu-time. Now the game before that we did just the same in Ostend. Losing in the last second is sour, especially against a direct rival for PO2. On Easter Sunday, we will not be looking for chocolate eggs this year, but we will be looking for points at Lotto Park.
For the Kemphans, a move to the capital, is always a difficult cliff to get around. Especially when it involves a match against one of the biggest clubs in our country: Les Mauves et Blancs d’Anderlecht.
Since we were added to the highest football league for the first time 26 years ago, the balance in away games against the great Anderlecht has been dramatic. Twenty times already we had to make the trip to the Théo Verbeecklaan. Only three times was there a points win.
In 2002 there was a draw and in 2003 and 2016 our boys did un tour de force. Everyone will have to be top again to pull off another tour de force. The mentality, football intelligence and hunger for a ticket to the Play Offs are already there, now it comes down to rewarding yourself.
Max De Cuyper is back in after a week of mandatory rest and only last week’s early substitute Pietro Perdichizzi will have to miss this match.
Did you know?
- Sinan Bolat in the last 5 encounters at Lotto Park, not once went off the mat as a loser? With AA Gent he played a draw twice and with Antwerp he won twice and also played a draw once
- Bryan Reynolds managed to score twice so far in the Jupiler Pro League. That he scored his first goal at Anderlecht, on loan from Kortrijk.
- Roman Neustädter was Anderlecht’s guest once in 2018, when he went on to draw 2-2 with Turkish top club Fenerbahce for a Europa League match there.
- Nicolas Madsen regularly invites Anders Dreyer to come and watch a match between himself and KVC Westerlo
- Nacer Chadli’s very first match for our Kemphans was the home game on 9/11 against RSCA (2-1)
- Our youngsters Maxim De Cuyper, Thomas Van den Keybus, Ravil Tagir and Kyan Vaesen will play for Anderlecht for the first time
- Even Mathias Fixelles has not yet lost in league play at Anderlecht, he played a draw with Kortrijk at the time.
- That only captain Lukas Van Eenoo does not have too good memories of a game in the capital, 6 games and 6 defeats….
The Brusselers, who from the golden 80s onwards were nevertheless competing for the title every time (4 titles in the 80s, 4 titles in the 90s and 10 titles in the 21st century) have found it a little more difficult to compete for that ultimate in recent years, although we have to add that, as a Westel side, we would be happy with that.
The last title dates back to 2017 and since then they have finished in places three (2018 & 2022), place six (2019), place eight (2020) and place four (2021). We already have to go back to the 1974-1980 period, when they also had to wait six years for another title.
This season, they will again have to miss out on the Champions Plays Offs, but what about their run in the Europa Conference League. On 20 April, they face Dutch AZ Alkmaar in the quarter-finals of this European competition, having previously knocked out Silkeborg, Steaua Bucharest, West Ham United, Ludogorets and Spanish Villarreal. Top performance from them, which of course also benefits Belgian football.
Recently, Yari Verschaeren had to end the season early due to a cruciate ligament injury. Maxim De Cuyper’s teammate with the Belgian U21 thus also suddenly saw his European Championship for under-21s fall through. Top marksman Islam Slimani – six goals in seven JPL games – is also not expected to be there yet.
Those we are likely to see on the pitch are:
- Goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen, who last week received a first invitation from Ronald Koeman to join the big boys of the Netherlands.
- In defence, we see Zeno Debast – who is the team’s highest value on the transfer market (10M), Red Devil Jan Vertonghen – who turns 36 next week and Senegalese Moussa N’Diaye – who was able to secure a last-minute ticket to Qatar last November.
- In midfield, we find Amadou Diawara – rented from AS Roma – and Ghanaian Majeed Ashimeru.
- The flanks are occupied by Murillo, 131 appearances for Anderlecht with statistics of 13 goals and 17 assists, and Francis Amuzu, who scored three goals and gave away seven assists this season.
- As attacking players, we will be presented with the trio Dreyer, Raman and Refaelov.
It has been almost 9 years since this North Kempian made his debut in professional football. After all these years, his tally stands at 277 matches flown. It will be the 21st time he will feature at Lotto Park. In the 224 previous meetings between Belgian clubs, it will be the first time he will whistle a match between the two teams.
Nine times he was also the match referee for our Kemphans. Five times at the Kuipje and four times away from home. So of those four games, Lommel (0-2), Cercle Brugge (1-2), Kortrijk (1-1) and Charleroi (2-1), we only lost the last game.
Then again, the last time we had it was in this season’s home game against Eupen (0-1).
Text and statistics: Peter Boons