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JPL Round 2 Preview: All eyes on Oostende

Friday

KV Oostende – Anderlecht

Saturday

KV Kortrijk – Standard Liège
Racing Genk – Cercle Brugge
Charleroi – Westerlo
Royal Mouscron-Péruwelz – Waasland-Beveren

Sunday

Lokeren – Zulte Waregem
Club Brugge – Lierse
KAA Gent – KV Mechelen

KV Oostende – Anderlecht

The weekend begins on the coast with a game that will attract much attention and that’s just down to Axelle Despiegelaere, who will give the ceremonial kick-off despite supposedly being a Club Brugge fan. There will be scouts from the likes of Manchester United, Barcelona, Juventus, Bordeaux and Borussia Dortmund present. Anderlecht will be looking for a more convincing performance than last week’s 3-1 win over RMP with Hasi demanding more from the right flank (where Najar will deputise once more at rightback) and central midfield duo and have everyone available. KVO were surprisingly outplayed in Lier last week but there’s no panic yet and in Jordan Lukaku and Fernando Canesin, have two players eager to make their mark against their old side.

Prediction: 1-2

KV Kortrijk – Standard Liège

Yves Vanderhaeghe is counting on the home support to give his side a boost as they look to bounce back from the deserved derby defeat at Zulte Waregem. He wants them to cut out the overplaying that got them into trouble last week. Brecht Capon is set to miss out and another key man in Stijn De Smet is a doubt. Standard lost another key player this week in Imoh Ezekiel but Tony Watt will be hoping to repeat the heroics of his first debut in Belgium (for Lierse), which saw him score after 92 seconds…against Kortrijk but he will start on the bench. Guy Luzon has had a reasonable week in terms of results despite the upheaval with a straightforward 3-0 win over Charleroi and a 0-0 draw at home to Panathinaikos in the Champions League qualifiers in which Mehdi Carcela was outstanding. However, Luzon has said he will field a weakened team in preparation for next week’s second leg.

Prediction: 0-0

Racing Genk – Cercle Brugge

Pierre Denier reprises his role as Genk’s caretaker manager once more this weekend with Christoph Daum and Peter Maes the leading contenders to succeed the sacked Emilio Ferrera. During the week, Denier made an impassioned call to the supporters, who are unhappy with the way the club has been run, to get behind a team strengthened by the arrivals of Georgian playmaker Okri and Hervé Kage from KAA Gent. However, it was the defence that was terribly exposed in Mechelen and Cercle will fancy their chances of a second successive draw if Stipe Bacelic-Grgic brings his shooting boots. Lorenzo Staelens has everyone fit for the trip to Limburg.

Prediction: A hesitant 1-0

Charleroi – Westerlo

Les Zèbres had an off day in Liège last week as their impressive manager Felice Mazzu admitted. They surely won’t repeat the same mistake of showing Westerlo too much respect this weekend but their defence needs tightening up and must show more commitment. Key forward Fauré returns but Neeskens Kebano has been left out of the squad. Mazzu was present for Westerlo’s 1-0 victory over Lokeren, which saw Evander Sno impress before going off injured. The Dutchman is fit and will be looking to link up again with Maxime Annys while striker Sherjill MacDonald wants to leave het Kuipje. Westerlo is a club on a high at the moment and they have broken their record for the number of season tickets sold.

Prediction: 1-1

Royal Mouscron-Péruwelz – Waasland-Beveren

Saturday night’s game sees top division football return to Le Canonnier. RMP’s motley crew looked set to cause a real shock at one point last week against Anderlecht but ultimately come up short. Anice Badri took his goal well and looks to be a player to watch this season. Waasland-Beveren have made a very good signing in Ghanaian international David Addy but he is not yet eligible to play while Jonny Rowell isn’t match fit and D’Ulivo is injured. W-B are vulnerable from set plays but Oumarou and Ibou were bright last week.

Prediction: 1-2 (Ibou to score)

Lokeren – Zulte Waregem

The battle of the PO1 overachievers, both sides have had bumps along the way over the past week. Lokeren lost their opening game in Westerlo and their leading goalscorer Hamdi Harbaoui with Celtic’s Amido Baldé an urgent priority as Peter Maes seeks a replacement. Zulte Waregem beat Kortrijk but then finished with 10 men as they were hammered 2-5 at home by Shakhtar Soligorsk in Europe. Glynor Plet went from hero to zero but with his goalscoring form, will be busting a gut to  make the return journey this weekend but worryingly, Steve Colpaert came off injured last night. Peter Maes, linked with Genk, needs a home win with a difficult few games ahead of them.

Prediction: 1-1 with an eye on who plays up front for Lokeren and Vanaken/Aneke.

Club Brugge – Lierse

Blauw-Zwart were very impressive in their 3-0 win over Brøndby in the Europa League. Maxime Lestienne, linked with a move to Qatar, returned to the team and to form while Victor Vázquez continued where he left off in Beveren and Nicolas Castillo is growing in confidence. Lierse got the season off to a fine start with the three points against KV Oostende and despite losing plenty of goals from last season, Alhassane Keita’s brace suggests he will enjoy Stanley Menzo’s attacking approach this term, which bodes well for an open and entertaining game this coming Sunday.

Prediction: 3-1

KAA Gent – KV Mechelen

Hein Vanhaezebrouck saw his team fluff their lines in his first league game in charge as they could only draw against Cercle. New striker David Pollet received little quality service as the midfield broke down while Habib Habibou has been recalled to the squad but is still likely to leave before September. Danijel Milicevic is out but should return next week. KV Mechelen produced the best display of the weekend last time out at home to Genk and confidence is high in the group under new boss Aleksandar Jankovic, who doesn’t hide his emotions. Sofiane Hanni impressed in midfield as did Glenn Claes out wide, Cissé in midfield and Obradovic at leftback. The question is whether they can reproduce that form in the fabulous Ghelamco Arena but after last week, Malinwa have shown they’re used to playing on a substandard surface.

Prediction: 2-2




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