Genk vs Buducnost by DamirJ
Genk had decent previous season, but nothing more than that since they failed to make an extra step and impress further in domestic competitions. They reached the semi-finals of Belgian Cup losing to Standard Liege, while the team ended up fourth at the end of Championship Group, fourteen points below champions from Club Brugge, seven points less than second placed Anderlecht that will be competing in Champions League too and finally, just two points below third placed Gent.
Additionally, they had to play play-off stage against Charleroi, jeopardizing their exit in Europe with a 2:0 defeat in the first leg, but improved a lot in the second one and celebrated in front of own fans with impressive 5:1 result, taking the European exit deservedly in the end.
As for the preparation period till now, Belgian side played five matches till now, winning three games in style against amateur sides, while they drew to Lierse and also won over Lommel Utd 4:0 in the progress. In the most recent matches, they drew to Lierse, looking quite ready for this stage of European league, since Montenegrin side shouldn't represent huge obstacle for them. In comparison to previous season, they will be missing forward De Camargo and Bailey, midfielder Heynen. Home side is set to play in 4-2-3-1 formation with Karelis as number nine.
After many ups and downs in previous season, Buducnost managed to get the second position in the end, finishing only four points behind champions from Mladost Podgorica which represents a positive outcome for them, knowing that their form looked terrible earlier during the season. Montengrin side already played in the first qualifying round, as they had to play against Macedonian side Rabotnicki and sealed the progress with a 2:1 aggregate victory.
First leg in Skopje ended as a 1:1 draw, with the visitors working mostly on counter attacks while the home side had slow build in their game plan and couldn't be more effective in front of opponents goal. With the help of their fans in the second leg, Buducnost managed to get the narrow 1:0 victory thanks to only goal scored from penalty kick in 18th minute via Radunovic. They were much more concrete, while the visitors had ball possession, but nothing more than that.
Must be said, players of Rabotnicki played with a man less since 17th minute and it was probably deciding factor in this clash. In comparison to previous season, Buducnost will be going into this one without midfielder Raicevic and forward Vujacic as both have left the club. Their roster is made of only domestic players, while they have no fresh injury nor suspension worry.
One way or another, I expect an easy victory for the home side and they should be able to secure the ticket for the third round already here. Genk looked ready enough in their preparation period and that should be enough to overcome easily modest Montenegrin side.