A Belgian Story – The Road to World Cup 2006: Part 13 | @verbist_philip

Happy Saturday! Philip is plotting for the new season with a Belgian regen hunt but will it help Beveren secure a Champions League group spot?

Hallo allemaal!

It is Saturday so here we are again with the latest of the Beveren Boys. Last week we finished Season 4 and what a season that was. Early exits in the Cup Winners Cup and the Belgian Cup, but the lads made up for that in the regular season. In a nerve wrecking finale we ultimately gave it all away and finished 2nd.

It still feels a bit sour, but it makes me even more confident that with a few additional top regens we will win the title in one of the following seasons.

Before we start regen hunting let’s say goodbye to Roland Velkeneers. He lost his place last season between the posts, but he was a key player in our first 3 seasons. Happy retirement Roland!

Allright, what does the free transfer market have in store? Aha, this looks very promising! Both defensively and offensively there are some excellent regen options available.

All players above the 140-Ability anchor point of Krncevic are top regens. If you are a regular of the blog, you know we have 3 already in the team: Michel Preud’homme, Georges Grun & Filip De Wilde. If you look at the below picture, you understand why I am very happy: this season alone there are 5 top regens available for pick-up.

I mentioned last week replacing the 115-Ability anchor point. Forget about that! For the first time I will have to make choices on who I get on board. In total I set my eye on 8 regens. Let’s get started!

It seems I am wanted by all teams where Arie Haan was in charge. Last season it was Standard, now it is Feyenoord. My reputation is clearly growing! Thanks, but for now I’ll pass. Perhaps after the 2006 WC I resign and I see where I end up. But until then, Beveren & Belgium it is.

The regen class of 2001 is by far the strongest ever. Who did we pick up?

Alex Abeels: regen of Luc Nilis. It wasn’t until the first Lockdown Challenge that I realised the database I have been playing with since a few years is not the standard one. In general differences are small, but for him, they are huge. In my database his ability/potential is 150-150 (compared to 165-175). Nonetheless he will be a valuable asset. Considered by Brazilian Ronaldo as one of the greatest players he ever played with, he had a superb career in Anderlecht and PSV. Known for his excellent technique, he is one of Belgium’s finest forwards without any doubt, until his career came to an abrupt stop after his collision with Richard Wright.

Hendrik Goosens: regen of Enzo Scifo. A Belgian with Italian roots, he was a great midfielder, voted as best young player in the 1986 WC. A versatile player who I intend to use in here mainly as left wing back.

Walter Van Acker: regen of Lorenzo Staelens. My future right wing back. A very intelligent player. I give him a specific mention here because he is one of the rare players who had a successful career at Club Brugge AND Anderlecht.

The class is so good that in fact they all deserve an introduction. But we’ll do that another time. Here are the others:

Karim Marien: regen of Marc Wilmots. In my database he somehow ended up as a F LC instead of the great AM C he should have been…
Tjorven Goor: regen of Patrick Van Kets.
David Six: regen of Dante Brogno.
Hendrikus Peiremans: regen of Wim Kiekens.
Michael Pijpens: regen of Philippe Vandewalle.

The season will start very soon. In the Preliminary Round of the Champions League, we have been drawn against Lithuanian champions Ekranas.

Despite the great influx of talent, let’s not make the mistake of making too many rush changes to the team. For now Abeels (Nilis) is the only new regen that is promoted immediately to the line-up.

Only July 25 and off we go already! We first play Ekranas at home. We have had a few great debuts already so far, but nothing compared to Abeels (Nilis): scoring a goal in the first minute of your first match. We make the return match unnecessary as we thrash them 6-1.

Can we keep our focus in the return match with a 6-1 bonus? Not really and we return back home with a 2-2 draw. Doesn’t matter too much, what interests me more is who we draw next. AIK Stockholm it is. We have proven we can beat Scandinavian teams, but this will still be tricky.

The first price of the season is for Anderlecht.

We travel to Sweden without De Wilde (Van Der Elst), he is suspended and we give new regen Six (Brogno) a chance to see what he is worth. In no time we are 2-0 behind. We fight back and get opportunity after opportunity, but still we have to wait till the 66th minute before Van Den Eede can score. AIK puts us under pressure after the goal, but we keep our cool and in the final minutes of the game Van Den Eede gives us a well-deserved 2-2 draw.

Well warmed up we get the regular season started. We host Antwerp and we see a familiar face: Monteiro Rubinelson. We never find our rhythm and a 1-1 draw is a fitting result for the match. But what’s worse, we lose Appels (Grun) and Abeels (Nilis) for several weeks.

Next we travel to Liege and immediately get our first defeat of the season. It is not a shame to lose against a team that came very close last season at winning the Champions League. It does show us though we still need to develop further.

But is that a reason to start doubting? Absolutely not!

We welcomed a lot of new faces at the start of the season. I don’t want the squad to get too big, so I don’t mind him moving out.

The match at Genk was the perfect preparation for our 1 million pound match. Do we deserve advancing to the CL Group Stage? Hell yeah!

The draw immediately puts us back with our feet on the ground. That will be tough!

And I don’t like the next draw either: at champions Anderlecht in the first round of the Cup. Again an early exit?

At least we can beat them at home!

A lot of action already and we are only beginning of September. The traditional international break is around the corner. No Appels (Grun) due to injury, but our performance did attract the attention of Leekens. We send 3 representatives for Belgium’s next match: a must-win against 2nd place Romania.

And also on the U21 level we are well represented.

The performance of Mommens (Verspaille) is an unexpected, but nice surprise. At the start of the blog I had Staelens (new incoming regen Van Acker) in mind as my right wing back, but if Mommens (Verspaille) keeps performing like this, he’ll have a hard time getting into the line-up.

As good as it goes on the right wing back, as difficult it goes on the left. It’s clear Chris Scifo (Moury) is not the real deal. I am going to start the “real” Scifo, our new regen Hendrik Goosens.

And as long as we are making line-up changes, here’s another one. Now that Abeels (Nilis) is injured, I am going to play Six (Brogno) instead of Laevers (Van Der Linden). It works out fine against Turnhout.

The WC Qualifiers are going into its finale. If Belgium still has any ambition, they need to win this one. And again they cannot. With 2 matches to go, they stay in 4th position.

For our next match I am recovering Abeels (Nilis) & Appels (Grun). I am sacrificing Van der Borght (Borkelmans) over Englebert (Vervoort). Lads, this one I absolutely want to win. They kept us from the title last year! We do win, but it is far from spectacular.

Time now for our first ever group match in the Champions League! In a group with PSV, Benfica & Man Utd expectations are low. Qualifying for the next round is an illusion, a point or perhaps two would be considered a success. At PSV we are absolutely nowhere in the first half. We play a decent 2nd and Van Den Eede saves our honour in the final minute of the game.

At domestic level we pick up another 3 points at Germinal. We are definitely scoring more goals then last season. Especially Van Den Eede is on fire at the moment. His contract is expiring at the end of the season. Are you looking for an extension Bart?

Next up is Diest, winner of the Belgian Cup last year. They surprised us last season, so lads, I don’t want this to happen again. Perhaps I should not use the word “surprise”, they are better then I give them credit for. F. Scifo (the regen one, Van Rethy) picks up an unnecessary red card, but as long as we have Bistrussu (Verschelde), there is hope. His 4 goals lead us to a 5-3 victory.

Bistrussu (Verschelde), what a guy! Another regen player I did not expect to perform this well. This is the highest value a player in the team ever had.

Final match for today’s blog is our 2nd CL match at home against Benfica. And our very first point! Van Meir (Preud’homme) illustrates the importance and value of a good goalkeeper.

Allright let’s have a look at the standings. Club Brugge is off to a fantastic start, we are an excellent 2nd. We are better than last year, but can we sustain our position?

Tot volgende week!

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