Regular readers will know that Anderlecht, Club Brugge, Gent and Standard Liege have qualified for the PO1s. Tonight’s matches will decide who will join them from – any two from Genk, Cercle Brugge, Lokeren and Kortrijk.
I still make Cercle Brugge and Genk the slight favourites to enter the PO1s. Bob Peeters’ Cercle Brugge just need a point at cup finalists Lokeren, while Genk ‘should’ win at home to Gent. The current champions, though, are totally inconsistent and now have major injury problems. After last week’s defeat, a few hundred Genk fans blocked the players’ bus. If they lose tonight, who knows what will happen. Racing Genk were proud champions last year; that seems a long time ago.
Lokeren-Cercle Brugge: It looks like Lokeren will give more priority to the cup final with talk of De Ceulaer and Leko being rested. Cercle Brugge will be busting a gut to reach the playoffs; without the suspended Oleg Iachtchouk.
Genk-Gent: Genk have lost four of their last six games and will be without Hubert, Camus, Barda and Anele. Subsequently, the Genk midfield looks very weak these days. This one is hard to call, Gent are in good shape for the playoffs and it depends to what extent Trond Sollied motivates his men.
Kortrijk-Beerschot: Kortrijk play in the cup final on Saturday but should have enough in the tank to beat Beerschot.
Anderlecht-Zulte Waregem: Roland Juhasz is back for Anderlecht after his self-imposed rest. Fernando Canesin is likely to replace Matias Suarez, out with a knee injury again, and the rest of the team could be unchanged – the reserves must be a bit sick of seeing senior players play badly and stay in the team. Tom De Sutter is back on the bench after injury but strangely Guillermo Molins is not even in the squad.
Club Brugge- Lierse: Victor Vasquez is suspended but there is talk of Vadis Odjidja returning earlier than expected. Club Brugge will be keen to get three more points; Wesley Sonck may get a run against his former club.
Mons-Westerlo: Enzo Scifo says he’s keen to see his team play against a club that will be motivated, as Westerlo want to finish above Sint Truiden. Jeremy Perbet will be goal hunting again: 21 so far.
Leuven-Sint Truiden: Leuven’s form is poor, even worse than Sint Truiden’s. Reza will be in attack and looking for goals to help Franky Van der Elst. Sint Truiden’s captain Peter Delorge wants to play, after receiving Wasilewski’s elbow in his face.
KV Mechelen-Standard: Neither of these clubs will be confident. Standard have lots of injuries and Mechelen have little to play for.