Tonight sees the first game of the 2017-18 season with the Super Cup between champions Anderlecht and Cup Winners Zulte Waregem. The result won’t mean a lot to the coaches but the Anderlecht faithful will be keen to start the new season with a victory.
There are several new players with links to the Premier League in the Anderlecht squad. With Frank Boeckx recovering from injury, Anderlecht have taken Newcastle United reserve keeper Matz Sels on loan. He’s hoping to make Roberto Martinez’s squad for Russia.
Henry Onyekuru has also arrived in Brussels, on loan for a season, after Everton bought the young Nigerian from Eupen. Onyekuru looks promising but he has it all to prove before joining the Premier League next season.
The third player is Sven Kums, signed from Watford. When Youri Tielemans left for pastures new, Anderlecht replaced him with the 29 year-old playmaker. It’s a return home for Kums as he was with the Brussels club for 10 years, from the age of eight, without ever making a first team appearance. He had spells with Kortrijk, Heerenveen and Zulte Waregem before joining Gent where Kums captained the side to the title in 2014-15.
Last year, Kums joined Watford but was immediately sent on loan to Udinese. It didn’t work out in the Serie A and he joined Anderlecht definitively a few weeks ago. Kums was in Marc Wilmots’ squad several times but never gained a cap. He’s another player hoping to make the Belgium squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and a successful season with Anderlecht would do him no harm.
Fans will be hoping that two key players, midfielder Leander Dendoncker and centre back Kara Mbodji, will not be leaving before the transfer window closes.
Coach Francky Dury continues to work wonders with Zulte Waregem, despite seeing his squad decimated every year. Last season, Waregem’s midfield was bossed by Danish international Lucas Lerager and French U20 cap Soualiho Meïté (on loan from Lille). Both have departed, to Bordeaux and Monaco respectively, after excellent seasons in Waregem.
Dury had brought in a few players from Anderlecht, most notably teenage striker Aaron Leya Iseka, brother of Michy Batshuayi. Iseka had a spell at Marseille on loan and will be hoping for more success this time. Also in from Anderlecht (again on loan) is Ivory Coast teenager Idrissa Doumbia, once said to be the natural successor to Yaya Touré but who has disappointed so far. Finally, Zulte Waregem have definitively signed Anderelcht centre back Michael Heylen (23) who many thought would be a first team regular at the Constant Vanden Stock stadium.
Also joining this season are Nill De Pauw, from Guingamp, a once very useful Belgian U21 winger and Julien De Sart, on loan from Middlesbrough, who will probably not be returning to the Teesside club.