‘Super Sunday’ fever has reached Belgium, with perhaps not the same degree of hype as exists in the Premiership. This Sunday evening sees leaders Genk pitted against second place Anderlecht, while third place Standard Liege visit Club Brugge.
Genk-Anderlecht brings together Franky Vercauteren and Ariel Jacobs, who were coach and assistant coach at Anderlecht before the former – who had been promised a job there for life – was unceremoniously fired. Vercauteren has always blamed Jacobs for engineering his downfall, and Jacobs has just had a few unkind words to say about the “little prince” in his new book. Now the talk is all about whether they will shake hands and sit next to each other at the press conference. Oh dear!
Meanwhile on the pitch, Anderlecht will be short of defensive and midfield strength. Stand-in 20 year-old Czech defender Jan Lecjaks is relatively untested, Lucas Biglia and Jan Polak are out and Hungarian defender Roland Juhasz is doubtful. Genk have worries too about Marvin Oginjumi – illness- and have already lost Kevin De Bruyne. Genk captain Joao Carlos got in the mood for the match by calmly announcing that he was the best defender in the league – he’s probably correct. Regardless of all that, the ‘house full’ signs will be up again at Cristal Arena … to check out if the two coaches do indeed shake hands or just give each other a kiss.
Standard Liege go to Brugge full of confidence and they seriously are talking about the title. Sinan Bolat returns in goal and will hopefully keep his mouth shut for 90 minutes. ‘Club’ are strong at home but will probably not have the quality or the fighting spirit to take the three points. Standard’s man of the moment is Mehdi Carcela who has settled in on the right of midfield. Eric Gerets is being watched by Morocco coach Eric Gerets, but the little winger is still undecided whether to say he will play for the ‘Lions’ or for Belgium.
On Saturday, the top match opposes Frank Drury’s Ghent and KV Mechelen – equal fourth on 22 points. Ghent will be hoping to take advantage of the top clubs slipping up and will look to Senegalese striker Elimane Coulibaly to get on the score sheet again. Christian Benteke will just be hoping he retains his place for Mechelen so he can give two fingers to Standard Liege.
Germinal Beerschot should be too strong for St Truiden, while Lokeren – the team of the moment – should give Zulte Waregem’s new boss Hugo Broos a few worries. Westerlo – Cercle Brugge could end all square.
At the bottom, Eupen – Lierse is a real relegation battle. Wesley Sonck and Tomasz Radzinski are set to lead the Lierse attack and Eupen have never beaten the visitors. That has to change on Saturday night.