Genk vs Waasland Beveren by Isaiah
Genk had decent previous season in Europe, as they reached the quarter-finals stage losing out to Spanish side Celta Vigo with a 3:4 aggregate score. Previous to that, they excluded Astra and Gent, also progressed the group stage ending first above Athletic Bilbao, Rapid Vienna and Sassuolo. However, disappointment came in their domestic league.
They ended up the regular part of the season only at eight position with just a point less than Champions group placed Charleroi, while the team failed to obtain Europa League exit later on. They were first in their Europa League group with eleven points more to second placed Lokeren, however lost the play-off game to Oostende 3:1. As for the Cup competition, they reached semifinals where side lost 2:1 on aggregate score against Oostende.
No doubt that they are determined not to repeat same mistakes now, while the team looked rather impressive during friendlies: winning four (two amateur sides, Willem II and Lierse), drawing against Everton 1:1 in last preparational game.
During summer the most important players that left are defender Castagne who signed for Atalanta, defender Walsh who signed for Zulte, forward Boetius who signed for Feyenoord and midfielder Kumordzi who signed for Kortrijk. To the positive part, striker Ingvartsen who came from Danish side Nordsjaelland should improve their front line, while new defender Aidoo from Hammarby should be a good transfer for their defensive line.
Goalkeeper Laszlo Koteles and defender Sebastian Dewaest are both injured and surely won't be playing here being long term absentees. Goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, defender Jakub Brabec, midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo and forward Marcus Ingvartsen are having minor injury problems and their performance here remains questionable.
Waasland Beveren, on the other side, did well to avoid relegation trouble in last rounds of the regular part of the league as they ended up at fourteenth position with seven points more than relegating placed Westerlo, continuing the season in Europa League group competition where they played without much of pressure.
After ten rounds played, the team had five victories and five draws, ending the season without any chance to reach the European exit, as they were seven points below first placed St Truiden. During the preparation period, the team won over four amateur sides, losing out to Romanian FCSB, but also winning over Waregem and Leuven 2:1 in the most recent game.
Only a little number of moves for them during summer. Japanese midfielder Morioka from Polish side Slask Wroclaw is the only new player in the team, while midfielder Conte left for Oostende, keeper Koteles for Genk, midfielder Langil for Legia and forward Rodriguez for Everton. Surely their team is weakened in comparison with the last season.
Guests will surely miss defender Niels De Schutter who is injured since late in the previous season.
Ambitions of these two sides are completely different, but also individual quality of each. Without European duties early in summer, I believe that Genk has a great chance to start the season in style. I expect Genk to make a strong impact in the new the season and win the first game with ease, against a really weakened side in comparison with the previous season.