Antwerp, Genk, La Gantoise: update on the situation of Belgian clubs in the Europa League and the Conference League

Three Belgian clubs are in contention in the two “small” European cups: Genk, Antwerp and La Gantoise. In very different situations, everyone will try to play their game to hope to pass the European winter. What are the challenges today? Attempt to answer.

La Gantoise (Conference League, 6:45 p.m. against Partizan Belgrade)

Let’s start with the most relaxed team: Ghent. Only tenths in the league, the Buffalos wreak havoc in the Conference League. After three qualifying rounds, sometimes more than wonky, the men of Hein Vanhaezebrouck mark their territory in this competition and prove themselves worthy of their status. Placed in the first hat at the start of this new tournament, Ghent proves that this place is not usurped. While it is true that Flora Tallinn and Anórthosis Famagusta do not represent the ultimate challenge when it comes to the continental scene, Serbian runner-up Partizan Belgrade has many more references.

References or not, the price is the same for each of his opponents: a defeat without managing to score. Without crushing their opponents, Ghent gets the job done and enjoys the enviable status of the only team not yet to have scored a goal since matchday one. The performance is nothing exceptional in itself, but it is clearly not to be minimized. Instead, ask Roma who took 6-1 from Norwegians Bodø / Glimt or Tottenham, only third in their group with four points.

The objective of this Thursday is clear: to ensure its qualification in the next round. For that, it is very simple: it will be necessary to chain a fourth victory. Moreover, the Buffalos could even qualify before the meeting if Flora Tallin and Anórthosis Famagusta (who meet at 4.30pm in Estonia) share. In the same vein, a victory in Ghent and a division between Estonians and Cypriots would directly offer first place in the group and this is not trivial since the first opens the doors of the knockout stages while the second has to go through a lap play-off against a third in the Europa League group.

Genk (Europa League, 6:45 p.m. vs. West Ham)

There are West Ham and the others in Group H. Nine points, no conceded goal for the Londoners. Three points for Dinamo Zagreb, Rapid Vienna and Genk. Last on the goal difference, the Limburgers still have a good card to play in this small league, especially since they have made two trips. Unfortunately, the calendar is not favorable to them at this time.

Favorite of the group at the time of the draw, West Ham has not yet qualified and will therefore not come to the Luminus Arena to make up the figures but to formalize its qualification for the next round. The Hammers could even secure their first place and thus afford the luxury of running widely over the next two days. Far from having the psychological advantage after the defeat suffered in the first leg (3-0), Genk has already shown in the past that he is capable of great things. It’s up to John van den Brom’s players to prove it.

Antwerp (Europa League, 9 p.m. vs Fenerbahce)

Imperative victory tonight for the Great Old. Last of the group with only a small point behind Frankfurt (7), Olympiakos (6) and Fenerbahce (2), Antwerp could (should?) Have had more points but details prevented it. At home against the presumed weakest team of its opponents, the Antwerp club must imperatively win so as not to see the train of the next round move away almost definitively.

Even in the race for third place which, since this year, has made it possible to spend the winter warm, it is essential to pass the Fener again on Thursday. Brian Priske did not hide it at a press conference: “It’s an important game for the future of Antwerp. If we want to play Europe again after the New Year, we have to take the three points.” From now on, the number 1 plays his life in each match and no longer has the right to make mistakes.

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Antwerp, Genk, La Gantoise: update on the situation of Belgian clubs in the Europa League and the Conference League