The 2023/2024 Belgian Pro League season is up and running, with every side now having gotten 90 minutes under the belt. Lets look at five takeaways from an exciting opening weekend.
Unfortunately, VAR was pretty dominant in the opening weekend. There were a few soft penalties, namely in Charleroi and Brugge, that caused controversy. The debate about how much VAR enhances the game will continue to roll on, and unfortunately Belgian referee Nathan Verboomen was the man in front of the screen for both matches.
Genk’s strength in depth
Last season, if you had seen a Genk side without Mike Tresor, Bilal El Khannous and a reocgnised striker, you would have worried for Wouter Vrancken. Against RWDM, they showed that perhaps this year they have more strength in depth. Alieu Fadera got his first goal for the club, while Daniel Munoz continued his scoring run from last season. With a 4-0 win, the side proved too strong for the newly promoted side and certainly sent a message to the rest of the competition. They could still do with another striker before the window closes.
Standard Liege miss last seasons loanees
Last season, Steven Alzate and Philip Zinckernagel gave Standard Liege some real quality. Neither are back, with the latter set to join Club Brugge. Against Sint-Truiden, Standard appeared to miss their ability to create and score. They ended the game with an xG of 0.54 against a defence that was very inexperienced. They ended up losing 1-0 to a Canaries side that are set for a relegation battle this year.
OH Leuven need another striker
OH Leuven have needed to bring in another striker all summer, and against Charleroi this became even more evident. The Zebras spent most of the game down to 10 men, but all OHL could muster was an equaliser from a controversial penalty. the side had 19 shots on goal, with just five on target an an xG of 2.42. Eventual goal scorer Nathaniel Opoku continues to impress, but he can’t do it alone. If he gets injured, there is not another striker in the squad. If OHL don’t bring one in they could regret it as the season progresses.
Kasper Dolberg needs a confidence boost
While his new head coach may have said he is too good for Anderlecht, former Nice striker Kasper Dolberg looked like a man bereft of confidence against Union St Gilloise. the 25-year-old had the least touches of any player on the pitch, and only managed two shots, one of which, on form, he would have taken. It is clear that Dolberg needs a goal early on in the season to get the confidence back. The longer he goes without one, the more his head looks like it will drop.