Saturday is finally the day. After a hiatus for months due to the corona outbreak, the Jupiler Pro League is finally kicking off again. Club Brugge and Charleroi will finish the first match of the new football season at 4.30 pm, so that the current national champion will immediately be presented with an opponent of stature.
LIKE THE COFFEE BACLE
On Jan Breydel they want to avoid the same scenario as in the lost cup final against Antwerp FC, but the Carolo’s battle plan will undoubtedly be in the same line as that of The Great Old. Last season Club Brugge already had a hard time with the stiff Charleroi, but was still able to present a positive four out of six.
However, that was accompanied by a lot of effort because the current national champion could hardly find his way to the goal once in those two matches. The away game in January was decided on a 0-0 draw and in February was narrowly won 1-0. So there was not much scoring, and Club was even lucky that it kept the zero in the 1-0 home win, because Charleroi had the best chances at the time.
BELHOCINE EN LEKO
The retained playing style of coach Karim Belhocine can be compared well with the approach that Antwerp trainer Ivan Leko used in the cup final. Both teams refuse to take the initiative in their own hands and then strike mercilessly in the transition. Last season it was already clear that Club Brugge had great difficulty with that, and Leko also played that perfectly in the cup final against Antwerp. Club generated 70% ball possession against Antwerp, but could barely make two attempts on goal.
Last season Blauw-Zwart generated an average possession of the ball of 57.5% against the Zebras and was able to fire three chances per match. That was a lot less than the season average at the time, which was five effective goal attempts per game. Stiff, defensive opponents who can switch razor-sharp seems to be the main weak spot of the current national champion.
There seems to be no doubt that Karim Belhocine will repeat his tried and true recipe from last season for the new year. The Charleroi team therefore remained almost completely intact compared to last season, which saw one strongholder leave in the person of Nurio Fortuna. His preferred replacement will be Joris Kayembe, who has been working effortlessly in Het Zwart Land since January. In addition, the team was supplemented with Guillaume Gillet, Amine Benchaib and Lucas Ribeiro Costa.
Charleroi will therefore not really be weakened from the starting blocks, while Club Brugge has not yet attracted a single new face. From a purely qualitative point of view, Blauw-Zwart should be able to beat the Zebras, but last season that proved to be no easy task either. Club was also the big favorite in the cup final against Antwerp, but it went the boat against Antwerp, which followed the same approach as Charleroi. It promises to be an exciting match on Saturday.
POLL: Will Club Brugge beat Charleroi?