Champions League: Valencia – Racing Genk (November 23, 20.45)
Racing Genk go to Valencia tonight knowing that a defeat or a no score draw would put them out of Europe and a score draw would give them a slight chance of Europa League qualification. A victory, of course, would have their fans dancing in the streets of Genk.
So far Genk have drawn two and lost two in Group E of the Champions League and have just scored the one goal, Jelle Vossen’s effort against Chelsea at the Cristal Arena. Tonight they will look for inspiration from Kevin De Bruyne, who recently said he had lost five kilos after contracting a virus, and Israeli Elyaniv Barda, who returned to the side against Westerlo, scored and delivered two assists. Barda should get more games now that Marvin Ogunjimi has been allowed to leave the club early and join Mallorca, where he’ll be qualified as of January. Until then he’ll be banging out the tweets saying how happy he is with the new challenge, new life, etc.
The return of Ngongca Anele, after being dropped for returning late from international duty, means that Anthony Vanden Borre is likely to move into midfield alongside stand-in captain Daniel Tozser. The Hungarian refused to comment on the offer he’s said to have received from Anderlecht of a four year contract worth €3.6 million. Tozser said he was focused on Valencia and he was happy at Genk; contract expires in June.
Czech defender Daniel Pudil will also be back to give the defence a slightly more familiar look and Genk will be hoping from more heroics from Hungarian keeper Laszlo Koteles. Coach Mario Been said he does not want his team to show too much respect for Valencia and that they learnt a lesson at Stamford Bridge. His opposite number, Unai Emery, said he expects Genk to be more offensive than they were in Belgium.
Valencia’s Ever Banega will miss the game and also the club’s final match with Chelsea. Valencia have only lost once at home this season: 3-2 against Real Madrid – both goals from Roberto Soldado. Genk have it all to do.
Genk: Koteles; Anele, Hyland, Nadson, Pudil; Buffel, Vanden Borre, Tozser, De Bruyne; Vossen, Barda.
Valencia: Diego Alves; Miguel, Rami, Victor Ruiz, Alba; Pablo Hernandez, Tino Costa, Jonas, Albeida, Piatti; Soldado.
Points to-date (all played 4)
Chelsea, 8; Leverkusen, 6; Valencia, 5; Racing Genk 2.