Gent VS Club Brugge Prediction
Sunday afternoon of the 29 January 2017 promises a dodgy match-up at the “Ghelamco Arena” in Gent, where hosts must put on pressure current leaders and reigning champions Club Brugge. That fixture represents not only a clash between last two Belgian champions but a regional Flemish rivalry as well. Gent are from East Flanders while their opponents are coming from neighboring province of West Flanders. A proven fact which adds even bigger charge in that game, especially when both clubs are in top 6 of the Belgian First Division A.
Match Preview: Gent vs Club Brugge 29.01.2017
Club Brugge has maintained its winning run from end of 2016 wins as “The Blauw-Zwart” head to Gent after five consecutive league wins. Three of them were in closing weeks of 2016, when Club Brugge achieved a goalless draw in a visit to Anderlecht, which has been followed by triumphs against Kortrijk (5-1), AS Eupen (4-1) and Royal Excel Mouscron (2-1).
First two steps in the new year have been made in space of just 4 days and Club Brugge is keen to end its calendar week in a fabulous fashion. After a 0-3 victory over Standard in Liege last Sunday, followed by a midweek success (2-1) vs Waasland-Beveren, Club Brugge holds first position in the First Division A, where they remain unbeaten after losing by Sporting Charleroi in mid-October. Thus reigning champions remain on top of the table with 49 points, having two more from the runner-ups Anderlecht. In fact Club Brugge sets its entire focus upon its title defense. This happens because Michel Preud’homme’s men have already been eliminated from the Belgian Cup, as well as after the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League group stage. All in all most of the aforementioned positive results were achieved after that.
Gent can’t boast with the domestic performances of their rivals, but on other hand they are still engaged in an European competition. After less than three weeks Gent will renew its UEFA Europa League journey where squad led by Hein Vanhaezebrouck will challenge English Tottenham Hotspur. However, “The Buffalos” must improve their league positioning in a first place as Gent occupies sixth position, which puts them on border between both playoff groups. Logically, every team wants to find its place in top 6 and Gent must defend its status.
After a disappointing defeat in Genk and four consecutive defeats at the end of 2016, Gent started the new year with two clean sheets. First match of “The Buffalos” was at home turf where last Friday Gent achieved a narrow victory over another top-6 side – Sporting Charleroi. It has been followed by a goalless draw in Lokeren on Wednesday night, but Gent can surely find some inspiration in these results. Especially after that terrifying performance in closing weeks of 2016, when Gent failed to win in six successive domestic games. These poor performances also cost them eventual position in the Belgian Cup semi-finals.
Team News, Squads and Missing Players
Gent returns at home after a midweek trip to Lokeren where despite missed opportunity to win, Hein Vanhaezebrouck can regret about injury of Brecht Dejaegere. Attacking midfielder was injured in first half of the game, which was his 100th appearance for the club, and respectively substituted on half-time. Now Dejaegere is doubtful for upcoming round against Club Brugge but good news in that zone are related with name of vice-captain Renato Neto, who is fit and back to training.
Kalifa Coulibaly is another player who returns in contention as he landed in Paris on Friday. Malian attacker was one from the 23 players who represented Mali at the 2017 African Nations Cup, so he may find a place in the group. Nevertheless, presence of French attacker Jérémy Perbet and of winter signing Darko Bjedov provides some options for top position in Gent’s anticipated 3-4-2-1 formation.
Meanwhile local youngster Thibault De Smet was sent-off in closing minutes of the game in Lokeren and this may cause some rotations at the back.
Club Brugge will claim sixth successive league win and sixth successive over Gent. Indeed, “The Blauw-Zwart” have won their last five meetings against Gent and this includes a narrow success at home earlier in the season. Main contribution for that winner was by Dutch defender Ricardo van Rhijn, who scored in closing part of the first half, but the Dutchman misses this one due to injury. Luckily, Michel Preud’homme has decent options to cover van Rhijn’s absence at the right-back. Except Dion Cools, Colombian defender Helibelton Palacios is another option after his recent transfer from Deporitvo Cali. He took part in both rounds so far and he was even one from the starters against Waasland-Beveren on Wednesday.
And if we consider that central defender Benoît Poulain remains doubtful, Michel Preud’homme has two other certain absences. Anthony Limbombe is injured while Tomás Pina is expected to miss out as well. Experienced Spaniard arrived in Belgium from Villarreal last summer and everyone in Brugge had big expectations over him. However, Pina still can’t settle in his new club and he suffers from injuries very often. Something that makes all rumours about possible interest from Spanish clubs very reasonable.
Betting Prediction and Possible Lineups
Generally, with or without Benoît Poulain, Club Brugge’s boss Michel Preud’homme can name a strong starting XI for that game and this makes the derby even more intriguing.
Gent will hope to close a terrible streak against Club Brugge and this can give additional boost to the hosts. Clash against Club Brugge is also significant for team’s positioning and we believe Gent will be more cautious here, although they play at home.
We fancy odds for “Both teams to score – Yes” and this goes as our betting recommendation on Sunday’s clash facing Gent vs Club Brugge. We expect both teams to score at least once in that game.
Venue: “Ghelamco Arena”, Gent.
Referee: Nicolas Laforge.
Possible Lineups of Gent and Club Brugge
KAA Gent: Lovre Kalinic – Nana Asare, Stefan Mitrovic, William Troost-Ekong – Kenny Saief, Rob Schoofs, Birger Verstraete, Thomas Foket – Danijel Milicevic, Samuel Kalu – Jérémy Perbet. (3-4-2-1)
Club Brugge KV: Ludovic Butelle – Laurens De Bock, Stefano Denswil, Björn Engels, Dion Cools – Timmy Simons, Ruud Vormer – José Izquierdo, Hans Vanaken, Lior Refaelov – Jelle Vossen. (4-2-3-1)