Preview Antwerp – KVC Westerlo
Sunday, we travel to the proud leader of the league. In such games, you can only win points, and if you can follow the statistics, then I would indeed not directly bet on a defeat for our Kemphans. Why? You can read it below.
Royal Antwerp FC
We start our preview this time with our opponent. Because the remarkable thing is: we are their black beast. There is no team in the highest division whose “winning percentage” is so low. In 16 games between them, they only won twice against our Kemphans and drew four times, i.e. only a 12.5% winning percentage. Even against Club Brugge (14.5%) and Anderlecht (22.4%) – the two other clubs they hardly win against – they score higher. There is always a but. Antwerp have grown into one of Belgium’s top clubs in recent years, making them one of the select few in the G6. Their goal this season is simple. They want the title. The last time they managed this was in the memorable 1956/1957 season. No less than 66 years the supporters of Antwerp have been waiting for this apotheosis.
The man who has to bring this about is Dutch ex-international Mark van Bommel. He has played at various top clubs, especially PSV Eindhoven, FC Barcelona, FC Bayern Munich and AC Milan. Plenty of experience as a player and first started as T1 in 2018 at PSV and in 2021 at VfL Wolfsburg. At least he got a few nice names from his chairman to strengthen the core. Deep striker Vincent Janssen is in the core of the Dutch national team and he wants to get a ticket to Qatar in November. On the right flank came Calvin Stengs – who, with his market value of 13 million euro, is worth more than our past starting eleven – and in midfield we find Dutchman number three, Jurgen Ekkelenkamp, who could also go to Club Brugge. In defence, Toby Alderweireld was persuaded to come to the metropolis of Antwerp. MegaToby was immediately appointed captain and thus plays professional football in Belgium for the first time in his life, after having previously worked for Ajax (four seasons), Atlético Madrid (one season), Southampton (one season), Tottenham Hotspurs (six seasons) and Al-Duhail (one season).
Recently, the Antwerp fans were eliminated in the European Conference League by the Turkish club Basaksehir, after they had previously eliminated FC Drita and Lilleström. The supporters saw one big advantage in this elimination: now they can put everything on the league.
After the spectacle in Mechelen, the Westel supporters had hoped for a follow-up in the match against Eupen. Especially since they were the team that gave up the most goals. Nothing of the sort… The German Belgians kept their nets clean and were able to score with their only chance of the match. In injury time, the score could have been tied, but Tuur Dierckx missed from the eleven meter mark. Even worse than the defeat was the long-term absence of Jan Bernat – the same injury as Tuur last year and Erdon this year – and also captain Lukas Van Eenoo might have to stay on the sidelines for a while with an overburdened Achilles tendon. Our current core includes four players with an Antwerp past. Sinan Bolat played 117 games with the Great Old, Mamoutou N’Diaye 46 games, Tuur Dierckx 27 games and Pietro Perdichizzi made 11 appearances. Our coach Jonas De Roeck also knows the Bosuil very well. In two periods (1998-2001 and 2013-2015) he came to 79 games and 2 goals. On 25 April 2015 he also ended his active player career there.
We have played three away games now, and not once did we come home with points. This has happened to us a few times in the past and usually a draw or a win followed in that fourth game. Three players completed all their playing minutes: Sinan Bolat, Edi Jordanov and Rubin Seigers.
Wesli De Cremer
Just like on the first matchday (2-0 win against Cercle Brugge), he will be refereeing a game of our Kemphans. This is already the thirteenth time in total, with three wins, three draws and six losses. Remarkable is that in those twelve games, he put the ball on the spot four times, and that those were for us every time. For our Antwerp colleagues, he whistled only two matches. Those were always at the Bosuil. Twice Antwerp got stuck on a draw (0-0 against STVV and 2-2 against OHL).
Text and statistics: Peter Boons