I was going to write this for Thursday but I’ve not only been unprepared, I’m also going Berlin, but don’t worry, more Waffle will be written whilst away that nobody will read.
But back to this week, the only football including Belgian teams in Europe will be on Thursday night. Three teams are still included in the UEFA Europa League and if Club Brugge has performed better, it could’ve been 4. The Black and Blues were not in a particularly tough group in all honesty and maybe their lack of Champions League nouse cost them European football.
But to those who are left, we’ll start with the team with the most chance of progression and that’s Genk. After qualifying from a reasonably tough group as winners, they have a 2 legged tie against Romanians Astra Giurgiu. The current Romanian champions progressed as group runners up and will definitely be a tough test, but with the second leg back in Genk, I’m confident De Smurfen will prevail. Without Leon Bailey who has found form in the Europa League, it will still be quite comfortable in my opinion.
Now to the more difficult ties for Pro League sides, starting with Gent. With what happened Saturday night I’m sure they’d rather not have to play Spurs this week. Losing to Eupen shouldn’t really have an affect on Gent leading into this match, but I’m sure a victory would’ve boosted confidence. Tottenham lost at Liverpool on Saturday evening so immediate form for both isn’t fantastic but Spurs are looking to bounce back. Gent’s luck may be in as they won’t have to play at White Hart Lane and instead will travel to Wembley, and Spurs aren’t great at Wembley as it showed in the Champions League.
All this said, I’m not confident of all three Pro League sides progressing with this match as well. Anderlecht have been drawn against 2007/08 winners Zenit St Petersburg. Zenit are of course a team everybody expects to be in the last 16 of the Champions League, but now without Hulk and Axel Witsel they‘re not the animal they once were, currently 2nd in the Russian league, 5 points off leaders Spartak Moscow. With Lukasz Teodorczyk being prolific in this season’s Europa League and having a great start to 2017, they will definitely feel confident and may have an edge leading into the game.
With much love.
Happy Valentine’s Day