A new coach in town. Rik De Mil will lead the Kemphans for the next 2.5 years. We have come to know our new coach in recent years as a gentleman of the highest class, the quote from the Bruges colleagues at his farewell spoke volumes: great sir.
The 42-year-old coach was already on the Westerlo training pitch on Tuesday afternoon, 1h after the redemption signing. A hectic afternoon where he took the time to greet everyone, then gave a speech where the group feeling came out and finally the accompanying photo session, before stepping onto the pitch. Coffee-gazing of course as to what that first selection will look like. Interim coaches Bart Goor and Eric Reenaers at least set a good example at Kortrijk by taking home the three points. Our new coach can choose from our entire squad; everyone is fit.
No doubt our new coach will have his accents, one of which is: you train how you play. There are at least 2 Kemphians who need to watch out for a yellow cardboard on Friday. Emin Bayram and Sergii Sydorchuk are “on edge”, they both already have 4 instances behind their names, another one would mean they would have to miss the game at Antwerp.
A win would then again mean leapfrogging our opponent.
However, many of us will remember the opening game of this season. Am Kehrweg we then narrowly drew, after we had dominated the entire match. Since then we have not had that much ball possession (60%) in a match, in expected goals we knocked off at 2.43 then, we have not improved on this since either. Ex-Kemphaan Yentl Van Genechten then scored the first two goals of his professional career, but did not find his way to the goal after that either.
In the rankings, they come out 13th. Their start was great with a 10 out of 15, followed by a 5 out of 39. Of the four victories achieved, they twice took the full spoils on loan: Genk (0-1) and Kortrijk (1-3).
German coach Kohfeldt usually opts for a 5-3-2 formation in which we see 2 Icelandic internationals: Victor Palsson, also the captain and Alfred
Finnbogason, once still on the payroll at Lokeren. In goal is 19y-young American Polish goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, who also got to make his international debut for Team USA at the beginning of the year, and was behind Genk’s opening goal last week – after an error of judgement. Another notable figure is on the left flank, named Jason Davidson, a former Australia international who has already been on the payroll of 1 Japanese, 2 Portuguese, 2 Dutch, 2 English, 1 Croatian, 1 South Korean, 1 Slovenian and 3 Australian clubs.
The other names who can usually count on a starting place are Belgians Gary Magnée, Rune Paeshuyse and Brandon Baiye and Czech defender Jan Kral. The playmaker is Milos Pantovic, who played in Bayern Munich’s youth team, and once spent 1 minute in the German top team’s main squad. The then coach, Pep Guardiola, granted him playing time in minute 92, he then replaced Arturo Vidal in midfield.
The two most forward pawns listen to the names Isaac Nuhu (4 goals and 2 assists) and the already mentioned Finnbogason (1 goal and 4 assists).
Wesli De Cremer
- Twice earlier this season as matchkeeper: at home against Gent 1-3 and at Genk 3-3.
- Already 18 times in the past: which makes us the team that has already whistled the most
- Eight times at Het Kuipje: 4 wins (Roeselare 4-0, OH Leuven 1-0, Cercle Brugge 2-0, Kortrijk 3-1), 1 draw (Tubize 1-1) and 3 defeats (Beerschot 1-2 and twice Gent 1-3)
Text and statistics: Peter Boons