Anderlecht against Standard Liege is often cited as Belgium’s Clasico. This is despite, over past season, neither side having been challenging for the title. Both are in periods of transition, not yet ready to challenge the likes of Genk, Union St Gilloise, Antwerp and Club Brugge for the title. The summer of 2023 is also an important time for both sides as they look to build upon the good work of their respective head coaches.
For Ronny Deila and his Standard side, while the title is not a goal, the top four remains a possibility. By the time they take to the pitch against their rivals, they will have seen the two sides directly above them clash in Brugge. If neither side manage to win, Standard will have the chance to leapfrog both and make their way into the top four.
Anderlecht are hoping to join Standard in the current play-off two position. Under newly appointed head coach Brian Riemer the side are starting to get more consistency. Depending on the result between Cercle Brugge and Eupen, they too could jump places and make their way into the play-offs with a victory over Standard.
Standard’s key players will certainly be Philip Zinckernagel and William Balikwisha. Both put in excellent displays in their recent win over Union, which saw the Brussels based side lose for the first time since September. For the Mauves, they will be hoping that Anders Dreyer can continue his recent scoring run. The winter signing has scored in his last three games and is starting to look comfortable in purple. Goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen has also impressed in recent weeks, with it becoming clear why Burnley and former Anderlecht head coach Vincent Kompany wanted to sign him in the summer.