The first 45 minutes, under the reign of Rik De Mil, were nervous. Everyone wanted to show off and that sometimes led to misunderstandings and bad passes. The speech at half-time made that second half start liberating. Nicolas Madsen directed and Bolat kept his nets clean. A credit to the whole team as well, and you could feel that positive vibe in every Kemphaan, on and off the pitch.
Coach De Mil wanted to continue the line from against Kortrijk and he started with the same team. This was the intention anyway, because in the warm-up Matija Frigan was injured and youth product Kyan Vaesen started in the starting line-up for the first time this season.
Kyan was thus the 26th player to receive this honour this season. Only third goalkeeper Koen Van Langendonck, Josimar Alcocer and youngsters Muric and El Hari did not start.
Who will definitely not appear at kick-off is Emin Bayram. Our defensive strongman saw a yellow cardboard appear in front of him for the fifth time this season. Emin recently hinted that he has become a better footballer thanks to Dries Mertens. Three boys are eager to take his place: Ravil Tagir, Bakary Haidara and Pietro Perdichizzi.
In turn, Sergii Sydorchuk will have to be careful not to get a fifth card foisted on him at the Forest Owl, otherwise he will miss the important match against RWDM a few days later.
Our coach also has something new up his sleeve. From January, we will hold a press conference the day before the match, with or without a player, where he will answer journalists’ questions. The idea is that this will also be recorded and that this press conference will also appear in full on our social media channels. This way, every Kemphaan will be better informed.
Royal Antwerp FC
Den double, Barcelona killers, probably another Golden Shoe in January as well: it can’t get any better for the team from our metropolis.
In Antwerp, they have lived in misery – football-wise – for years, but the perseverers of the past are now being rewarded. Even before the arrival of our Westerlo, the stadium is sold out. Ideal atmosphere there too, even for the away team this must be an extra incentive. Taking points against such a team, is always a win, always gives you a good feeling.
Mark van Bommel always works with a fixed starting eleven, ten boys are sure of their place: goalkeeper Butez, defenders Bataille, Alderweireld, Coulibaly and De Laet, midfielders Keita, Vermeeren and Ekkelenkamp and strikers Balikwisha and Janssen. Muja, Wijndal, Yusuf and Kerk will play for that 11th spot, depending on the tactics used by the Dutch coach.
Balikwisha (31%), Janssen (26%) and Muja (20%) are the three players most often taking part in the goal share. So watch out for these three gentlemen, although super-sub George Ilenikhena is also a phenomenon. He got 606 playing minutes, and during that playing time he put no fewer than 9 goals in the basket!
Vincent Janssen must watch out for a yellow card with the great old, otherwise he will miss the topper against Genk on Boxing Day.
Antwerp have not yet lost on their own field this season, they won six times and they also drew three times. Their goal difference on their own field is also impressive: 22 for, 4 goals against and 6 clean-sheets.
Bram Van Driessche
- Was at the Bosuil once already this season for Antwerp vs Eupen 4-1
- Fled the match Charleroi vs Westerlo 3-2
- Fled 11 matches for Westerlo in the past
- Remarkably, 8 of those were away from home: 1 win, 5 draws and 2 defeats
Text and statistics: Peter Boons