A Belgian Story – The Road to World Cup 2006: Part 5 | @verbist_philip

Happy Saturday! Philip is back in Belgium as Beveren look to build on their great start to season two.

Hallo allemaal!

Hier zijn we weer! Last week we couldn’t have had a better start with 7 straight victories. We are leading the league; Club Brugge and Anderlecht are following closely.

Our first match today is against Lierse, who are also off to a good start. Unlike what I thought, they did get the necessary cash injection last season. They are a tough opponent and have a few excellent players.

Tough or not, they are not able to end our winning streak, even though it is a close call: 2-0 down at half time but in the second half we overpower them and secure the win.

A good start and in our next match we host Besiktas, where we defend a 2-1 bonus. I feel confident we can advance. However with Rubinelson & Peersman suspended and Van Den Eede still recovering from injury, I need to make a few changes: Pascal Nasden (regen of Dominique Lemoine) gets into the squad.

That’s 2 regens starting in this important match. What a debut for Nasden: he scores in his first match. We never get intro trouble and advance rather easily to the Third Round. This is a huge success! Our next opponent is one of the seeded teams and I am afraid out of our league: Fiorentina.

With 500K prize money and increasing ticket sales, our cash position improved considerably. There is no longer a need to have Jansta and De Vreese transfer listed. Both their value has increased from 1M to over 2M.

De Vreese already wants to move to a bigger team. Probably I won’t be able to keep him much longer. If you are ever starting in the Belgian league, you will often find him available as a free transfer. With an ability/potential of 122/151 he is useful to every team you are starting with.

Back to the league where our winning streak continues to 9…

… But that’s where it stops. Germinal Ekeren puts it to an end with a 1-0 victory.

Feeling a bit of disappointment, but still quite an achievement with the squad we are having. The streak has put us 5 points ahead of the Big Three and even 10 points of the 5th place.

Perhaps this first defeat gives the team some extra motivation? Let’s hope so. We may need it as we face Fiorentina a few days later. Smid returns to the team and we host Gabriel and co in what I consider our strongest line-up at the moment. We entertain our home crowd in a 3-3 draw. Despite leading 2-0 after 15 minutes, I am happy with the result.

Next we host our rivals of Lokeren in an almost sold out Freethiel stadium. Silvagni gets injured early in the game, and our top regen Appels takes his place. He impresses the home crowd and immediately wins the Man Of Match award in our biggest win so far this season. Now that’s what I call a debut! Let’s hope he does that again soon as I won’t be playing Silvagni for a few months.

The win must have gotten us a bit overconfident. Before we travel to Florence we suffer our 2nd defeat in 3 matches.

The team makes up for the loss big time as we upset Fiorentina at their own stadium! Nice work lads!

Our top regen Appels plays only 3 matches and he already gets a call up for the U21 team. With Van Den Eede and Peersman we even have 3 representatives in the team.

All other Belgian teams got eliminated in the previous round and we are the only Belgian team in the UEFA Cup 4th Round. Looking at the draw, we stand a chance.

The European matches start having an impact on our form on domestic level. That’s now 3 losses in 4 matches. The board is not at all pleased losing at home. I can only agree, this is a very annoying loss.

We have to turn this around. Bart Van Den Eede gets injured, so I move Rubinelson up 1 line and regen Nasden gets back into the line-up. We pick up the win!

Only a few weeks after the draw we continue our European adventure. Jansta scores a goal, but unfortunately he chooses the wrong side. We have more then enough opportunities to equalise and even win the match, but we don’t manage to score.

I can’t put too much blame on Jansta though. He is having again an outstanding season. He is one of our key players and he also managed to get himself into the Czech line-up.

Smid picks up an injury again and for the first time this season we start a match with 3 regens in the line-up. Can we keep the 3 points at home against last season champions Club Brugge? The answer is very simple: no. They were the much better team and we didn’t even come close to getting at least a point.

The performance of Jansta attracted the attention of AZ Alkmaar. They put in an offer, but way below his current value. Sorry AZ, you got Gunther Sterckx last year, but the situation is different now. We have sufficient cash and reputation to turn your offer down.

Next we travel to Aalst. We play a decent match, but we return back home with 0 points. Another loss. We are struggling and our form is going down quickly. We for sure overachieved when we started the season with 9 straight wins, but at the moment we are falling down quicker than I expected.

A few days later we take the plane to Vienna for what will probably be our last European match this season. I never expected to get this so far, so regardless of the score I consider this a good achievement. A hattrick Marcus Pürk finishes our European campaign.

We have 3 matches to go before the winter break, and I hope we can get a few good results before it starts. Easier said then done when you go to Anderlecht for your next match. Like last season Anderlecht find themselves trailing Club Brugge & Standard and they need points if they want to stay in the title race. With our only shot on target, we get our first draw of the season.

We got a bit lucky, true, but it is a result we can build on. Next it is time for Cup action and I do not want to have an exit in the first round. The draw wasn’t in our favour as we play Gent. They are having a very good season and are currently in 4th position. However they can’t stop us and their 2 red card seal the deal, we advance to the next round.

Anderlecht does not only want points, they also want my star forward. He has a big club clause so I cannot prevent it. But don’t be a cheapskate Anderlecht, you have 14M cash so at least offer his current value. Hang on! I didn’t expect this to happen: my reputation is high enough to turn Anderlecht down!

A few days later this happens. Considering last season and where they are now, Anderlecht was too kind for you René!

Can we build on our victory in the Cup for the last match before the winter break? We gave Standard a beating in the season opener, but in the meantime they are leading the league. We are down 3-0 after 30 minutes, Rubinelson puts us back in the match with 3 goals, but unfortunately we concede a 4th goal in the 89th minute.

They couldn’t get De Vreese in, but this is also a very nice addition to their squad.

Then they make this announcement. Eric, you better don’t go to Bruges the next years, they’ll eat you alive.

As a replacement Club Brugge appoints one of their icons.

For us it is a rather calm winter break. Scalia goes back to his home country. His contract expired at the end of the season, so I had to let him go then anyway.

After the break we resume the action with the second round of the Belgian Cup. We host the other team of Bruges, Cercle Brugge. They are in the 2nd league so this shouldn’t be a problem. And it isn’t, we start 1999 with our largest victory of the season and a spot in the quarter finals.

Can this be the start of a new streak? Euhm not yet.

We manage to win the last match of today’s blog. After 5 matches without a win in the national league, this is sweet.

Let’s finish by having a look at the standings. We started the blog in first position, but in the meantime we dropped back to 4th place.

Can we finish the season in the top 5 and play European football again next season? And can we make it past the quarter finals in the Belgian Cup? Let’s find out next week.

Tot de volgende keer!

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