It’s Saturday so off we pop back to Belgium to see how Philip is preparing for another season…
Welcome to our 9th and final season with our Beveren/Belgium lads!
Can our group of Belgian regens qualify for the 2006 World Cup in England? Last week we won all our qualification matches and we can almost pack our bags. The only country that can prevent us from direct qualification is Ukraine, but they will need a few miracles to do that. Life in CM9798 can be very unpredictable, but the odds are in our favor.
For Beveren last season was a bit of a mixed bag. We won our 3rd Belgian Cup, but in the league our form collapsed after the injury of Cannaerts (Emmers) and we fell back to 3rd position. So no Champions League in our last season, but instead the Cup Winners Cup.
It’s our last season, so does it make even sense to pick up a few new regens? Most probably it doesn’t, but why the hell not?
Let’s give a warm welcome to our final 2 regens. First one is Thomas Cavens, regen of Gert Verheyen. He started his career at Anderlecht, but it’s at Club Brugge where he became an icon. He wasn’t the most technical player, but he compensated that with his fighting spirit. And to continue the gag for the Flemish among us: it’s at night club High Street where he met his wife.
Our last introduction goes to Herman Abeels, regen of Régis Genaux. Standard had a lot of talented players in the early 90’s and Genaux was one of them. In the stupid database that I am using for the blog he is left back, in reality however he was a right back. His career was overshadowed by injuries and he quit football before he was even 30 years old. He unexpectedly died at the age of 35. Rest in peace, Régis.
Speaking of Standard, let’s kick the season off with the Super Cup. The lads start the season with a good performance against last year’s champions and without doubt still one of the best teams in the league.
We start the regular season “across the river” and go back home with our first 3 points.
We start like a rocket against RWDM, but our engine cools down very quickly after our 2-0 lead. Lads, it’s only match day 2 and we’re already losing points.
It’s Patro Eisden’s first season on the highest level. We give them a warm and nice welcome.
The First Round of the Belgian Cup is a rematch of last year’s Cup Final. The day after there is the First Round draw of the Cup Winners Cup and we draw a familiar opponent.
Against Lierse each team controls one half. We claim the first half, Lierse the second. The difference is we score one more goal and get the 3 points. Massaux (Albert) was not having the best season start, nonetheless he’ll be missed the next months.
We travel to Sclessin early in the season. Similar to the Super Cup the lads play a good match. We have to wait though until the 86th minute before Englebert gets us a well deserved point with a powerful header.
Last week we saved the best for us. Today the “moment supreme” comes as a lot earlier. Ukraine travels to Brussels and a draw is sufficient to win our group and qualify. They live on hope in the first half, but we take control in the second and the lads secure their ticket for England!!
We play an even match against Kortrijk, unfortunately for them we are far more efficient. After a long injury we welcome Van Acker (Staelens) back into the line-up, but he is only trading places with Appels (Grun). For the next three months, the captain role will move to Van Meir (Preud’homme).
And why not another injury on top of that? Bistruss (Verschelde) comes from the bench and is the catalyst in our 4-0 win against Hapoel Beer Sheva.
Compared to last season I notice we are less dominant. Our efficiency on the other hand is a lot better and our match against Germinal is a good example of that. I prefer efficiency over dominance so I am not too worried.
I like playing Cercle Brugge. And the crowd is pleased as well: an entertaining match with 10 goals, a good performance and a win. That’s why people come to the stadium lads.
From 6 goals to an uninspired 1-1 draw a few days later. A buzzer beater from Coenegrachts (Oliveira) saves us from an abysmal loss. Lads, if you put up such a performance against Dortmund, we’re in trouble.
I recently started a save with Beerschot, so it’s nice playing them here. They have been steadily making progress the last few years. They don’t play @9798Nikolai’s “Narrow 23122” formation, so we have no difficulty beating them.
No last qualification match during the October international break, but a meaningless and utterly useless friendly against the US of A. Van Vooren (Karagiannis) picks up an injury and we’re getting a bit thin on defenders.
Who would have thought at the start of the blog that in our last season Anderlecht is nothing more then a nice appetiser before the we get to the real stuff.
The lads play a brilliant game at Dortmund and we get a superb 2-3 win. The red card of Massaux (Albert) puts us under a lot of pressure, but we manage to hold them off.
I do not like playing Waregem. They definitely know how to make it difficult for us, and we’re happy to return home with a point.
Our next appetiser is Charleroi. It looks like it is just a 2-1 win, but this was more One Direction then the score would indicate.
Germans stay Germans and as expected they put up a good performance in the return match. They dominate the entire first half and we escape when they miss a penalty. Slowly but surely we take over and somehow manage to win 2-1. Another seeded team is next: Paris SG.
Our form is increasing and there is nothing that Mechelen can do about that.
We travel to Macedonia to finish the WC qualification campaign. That’s what I call finishing in style!
I always divided each season intro 3 blog updates. Now that we secured our spot at the 2006 WC, I am going to dedicate one blog specifically to the WC. Therefore I am covering today more matches than I usually do. I am making a short jump in time and we’re going straight to the First Round of the Belgian Cup. I love playing Cercle Brugge, but I already said that earlier, didn’t I? Our next opponent is KV Mechelen.
Next the lads cross the Atlantic Ocean for a “quick visit” to Brazil. The crowd at the Maracana stadium sees a win of the home team, but we did have our chances. On neutral soil I do believe we stand more than a chance against a high-calibre team like Brazil.
On the flight back home the FIFA announces the Group Stage draw. When we step out of the plane, we hear the result: we are in Group D together with Germany, Portugal & Wales. That’s tough! I believe we should be able to beat Wales, we proved we can win against Portugal, but for sure the group favourite is Germany.
The last match before the traditional winter break is also the last one for today. Co-leader Club Brugge comes to the Freethiel. We couldn’t have had a better start: Prazenica is sent off after just one minute and Marien (Wilmots) gets us ahead. The lads step up when it matters and we send Club back home with a 4-1 defeat.
We are now halfway the season. We are in the lead and we still haven’t lost yet. Standard can put their back-to-back title dream away. Also Anderlecht will have to wait at least one year longer. The title race is gonna be a battle between us and Club Brugge.
I look back at the matches we have played so far and I notice we already played all other teams in the Top 5 at home. So I do not imagine us staying undefeated! How will we end our final season with Beveren? Let’s find out next week. For now enjoy your weekends!
Tot volgende week!