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JPL Round 5: Can Genk get out of jail?

Racing Genk – KAA Gent

Standard Liège – Westerlo
Zulte Waregem –  Royal Mouscron-Péruwelz
KV Kortrijk – KV Oostende
Lierse – Charleroi

Anderlecht – Waasland-Beveren
KV Mechelen – Club Brugge
Cercle Brugge – Lokeren

Racing Genk – KAA Gent

Genk have been without a coach but also without a proper culture. The rudderless dressing room was harshly exposed during the week with the emergence of the news that Georgian playmaker Okri spent the night at the local police station after being involved in a drunken altercation with Anele. In terms of team news, Brian Hamalainen and Jelle Vossen are both out injured and goalkeeper Marco Bizot has been dropped. De Buffalo’s are on a roll after wins over Mechelen, Standard and Zulte Waregem without ever putting together a complete performance. Soumahoro is still out but the attack centred around Depoître is functioning well and Habibou had a good impact last week.

UPDATE: Alex McLeish is the new Racing Genk boss. Pierre Denier will take charge tonight.

Prediction: 1-2

Standard Liège – Westerlo

Roland Duchâtelet has promised the unhappy fans that the squad will be in a state to challenge once the transfer window shuts and Brazilian striker Vinicius is reportedly on his way on loan from Valencia. The midweek defeat to Zenit highlighted the gaps that still exist and Guy Luzon is not helped by the injury situation either. Despite les Rouches being all but out, the Israeli will still look to keep some men back for the trip to Russia. Unbeaten Westerlo were good for 45 minutes but were unable to hold on to their two-goal lead at home to Anderlecht. Evander Sno and Jean Koffi return and look out for rightback Mitch Apau who was impressive against the champions.

Prediction: 2-1

Zulte Waregem –  Royal Mouscron-Péruwelz

The rebuilding job doesn’t get any easier for Francky Dury this weekend with a potentially tricky encounter against early surprise package RMP. However, the master coach welcomes back Théo Bongonda, Steve Colpaert and Ibrahim Conté who are all now fully fit. Idrissa Sylla is a doubt while Olafur Skúlason is suspended after losing the plot last weekend in Gent. RMP are sweating on their star man Steeven Langil who has a calf problem but he is expected to make it and link up again with his partners in crime Badri and Diaby.

Prediction: 1-1

KV Kortrijk – KV Oostende

Yves Vanderhaeghe’s men have been inconsistent thus far. Their confidence-shy striker Ivan Santini has been suffering from dehydration in recent weeks and has been told to take on significantly more water. De Smet, Matton, Capon and Chanot remain out for De Kerels. KVO are getting better and they recorded a comfortable win at home to Mechelen last time out. John Jairo Ruiz has been impressive and with all his big guns available, visiting manager Frederik Vanderbiest will be confident of the three points, especially with good attacking depth on the bench in the form of Wilmet and Ruytinx.

Prediction: 0-1

Lierse – Charleroi

Following last week’s straightforward defeat in Lokeren, Stanley Menzo welcomes back his top striker Alhassane Keita who had the flu ; his presence should help the hosts rediscover their attacking cutting-edge. Meanwhile, les Zèbres are rooted to the bottom of the standings after four games and have swooped for experienced midfielder Karel Geraerts though he is ineligible for this weekend’s game. The defence is the worst in the league and needs to show more discipline and fight and while certain attacking players have shown form (Tainmont among others), the team is mentally fragile and has thrown away points from winning positions against Westerlo and Waasland-Beveren already this season.

Prediction: 3-1

Anderlecht – Waasland-Beveren

Belgian football’s record signing Steven Defour will make his debut this weekend as coach Besnik Hasi has confirmed. He will be looking to give the champions’ midfield a much-needed boost after an indifferent start to the season in terms of performances and a wake-up call last week in Westerlo (2-2). However, he won’t play 90 minutes and Andy Najar will miss the game, which opens the door for Frank Acheampong. W-B coach Ronny van Geneugden is pleased at the resolve his side have shown, twice coming from behind to draw in two weeks. Cédric D’Ulivo is out and Oumarou is a doubt but new striker Ante Vukusic is in line to make his debut.

Prediction: 2-0

KV Mechelen – Club Brugge

Malinwa’s Serbian coach Aleksandar Tankovic has some work to do to get his side back on track. They deserved to lose last week but at least they have key defensive duo Obradovic and Bateau available. Club Brugge won a remarkably open Europa League play-off game in Zürich on Thursday night but while they were demonstrably better, they failed to put the tie to bed in part due to the lack of a striker. Nicolas Castillo is a doubt for Sunday but Lior Refaelov made his return in midweek and can be a goal threat. Mechelen will look to target the woefully out-of-form Laurens De Bock but equally will have to be wary of an in-form Vázquez, who was the best player by a distance against Grasshopper in spite of his ‘miss of the season’.

Prediction: 1-2

Cercle Brugge – Lokeren

Lorenzo Staelens has guided Groen-Zwart to draws against three PO1 contenders so far this season and the spirit he has instilled into his side was no more evident than during last Friday’s derby draw with Club when they really got into their more illustrious rivals’ faces. N’Diaye is a doubt for the home side. Lokeren beat Hull City 1-0 thanks to a goal from Hans Vanaken to take a slim lead to Humberside next week. Dutra is fit again and Mbaye Leye is gaining more sharpness by the day while Aburahimi Besart adds pace and versatility to Peter Maes’ attack.

Prediction: 1-1




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