Belgian Pro League Matchday 14 Preview

The Belgian Pro League continues its march towards the winter break with a host of mouthwatering ties at both ends of the table on matchday 14.

On Friday night, Westerlo host Sint-Truiden in a game that the home side really need to win in order to get their season back on track. Their opponents were expected to struggle this season, but have so far defied the odds and played entertaining football to boot. The hosts got a huge win last time out away to OH Leuven, while Sint-Truiden threw away three points late on at home to Eupen.

Saturday see’s three games where all the sides are close to each other in the table. Antwerp have struggled to balance European and domestic football, but they did manage to beat Genk 3-2 last time out. They host a Standard Liege side who could only draw 1-1 at home to struggling KV Mechelen. Standard are just three points behind Antwerp, who occupy the final play-off one spot. Winning would bring them level, but would not be enough to overtake their opponents who have won the same amount of games and have superior goal difference.

Eupen, buoyed by their late draw against Sint-Truiden welcome a RWDM side who have struggled for form of late. The away side have failed to win for the previous eight league games. The sides are level on points with 14 from their opening 13 games, but Eupen sit ahead on games won. Eupen have conceded the most goals this season with 27.

KV Mechelen, under a new head coach Besnik Hasi, host Charleroi on Saturday evening. While the former Anderlecht man will more than likely not be in the dugout, he will be hoping his side can grab a first win in eight games. Charleroi, who sit just two places above them in 12th, had started to turn things around with wins over RWDM and Antwerp. However, a shock defeat to Eupen and a home loss to Gent have meant they remain within the relegation battle. They have struggled for goals, with defensive midfielder Marco Ilaimaharitra their leading scorer on four.

Sunday kicks off with the Brugge derby. Both sides are coming into the game following defeats to sides in the top six. Club Brugge lost 2-1 to leaders Union St Gilloise, while Cercle went down 3-0 at home to Anderlecht. The green and black side of Brugge are missing a number of key players and it is unlikely any will be risked before the international break. Club can leapfrog their city rivals with a win on Sunday lunchtime.

Genk will hope to heap more misery on OH Leuven in the next game. They were on a good run of scoring form before their 3-2 defeat to Antwerp, whereas OH Leuven have been leaking goals. They shipped five against Anderlecht before gifting Westerlo their second win of the season. New head coach Oscar Garcia has plenty of work to do.

Gent and Anderlecht go head to head in the other marquee matchup of the weekend. Gent are third, while Anderlecht are in second place going into the weekend. The side from Brussels have found scoring easy, with 13 goals in their previous four league games. Gent are also starting to find some form, with six goals in their previous two games. Both sides will hope to put pressure on leaders Union with a win.

The leaders host bottom side Kortrijk in the final game of the weekend. They certainly won’t underestimate their opponents, who have managed to beat Club Brugge this season already. However, since then they lost 3-0 to Genk and drew 1-1 with RWDM. Union are on an eight game domestic unbeaten run and have already opened up a four point gap at the top of the table. Depending on the result between Gent and Anderlecht, they will be hoping to extend their lead further over those two sides.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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