The Unexpected Champions – Part 2 | @verbist_philip

Merry Saturday! Here’s Philip with more from Lierse, looking to build on last week’s decent start

Hallo allemaal!

Happy Saturday everybody! Summer is slowly coming to an end, but in cm9798 September has already started.

For my new save I took control of Lierse, where we are trying to retain the title after their unexpected title race in the 96-97 season. In order to achieve that we welcomed a bunch of new players. We started 4/6 in the league, but weren’t successful in the Champions League Qualifier and lost to Germinal Ekeren in the Super Cup after a 10-11 penalty shoot-out.

That’s unfortunate, but the league is our primary focus this first season. We start today’s blog by welcoming my hometown club Beveren. We give them a 5-0 beating and they probably wished I continued my previous save.

Daniel Boccar is without doubt one of the most unlucky managers when you start a new game. No matter how good he performs with Standard, he nearly always gets the inevitable sack.

We recover Citko in the line-up and he immediately proves his value again. With 2 goals he secures the win against Harelbeke.

Parma was too strong for us in the Champions League. Will we have any better luck in the UEFA Cup? Hassler opens the score after just 2 minutes and it goes from bad to worse in the 2nd half. A disappointing 0-3 loss makes it very clear: our European adventure this season will come to and end in a few weeks in Germany.

Standard is next. Our first real test on domestic level. They are by far the better team, but 2 penalty kicks turn the game in our advantage. After that, they are beaten up and Pedersen even adds a third goal in the final minutes of the game.

The win puts us in first position. Super Cup Winners Germinal Ekeren are off to a great start as well.

With the inevitable sack, there is typically also the inevitable appointment of Liege-born Robert Waseige.

The season is still long, but so far I wouldn’t call signing Brian McClair a huge success. He lost his place in the line-up to Pedersen, who seems to get better week after week. Another injury of Citko gives him another chance, this time at the support line. And that seems to work out better: he is the driving force in a 1-4 win over Genk.

Also the “Great Old”, with icon Marc Emmers in their line-up, can’t stop us. They do score twice, but McClair leads the way to a 4-2 victory.

We travel to Germany hoping we won’t lose too big. However I cannot believe my eyes when we erase our 0-3 deficit by half time. Are we in for a miracle? Yes we are! We just continue pushing them back on their own turf in the second half and another 2 goals seal the deal: 0-5. What an UNBELIEVABLE performance!!

Oh yes baby!

“Zaragoza, Zaragoza, that’s the city of my dreams” Jimmy Frey used to sing. If we advance, you are in for a treat.

We’re on a roll now. Mouscron opens the score, but it’s all us after that.

During the October international break we receive multiple offers for Nico Van Kerckhoven. He for sure is one of the better players when you start a game with Lierse, but he doesn’t really fit the sweeper keeper formation. I hope I don’t regret this decision!

It does provide us with some extra cash to look for reinforcements. I’d like to add a central defender and a defensive midfielder, but I can’t find any good players for now.

We lose again to Germinal Ekeren, despite a hattrick from Pedersen. Hello Raimond, are you there?

A strong and dominant win at Anderlecht in your first season, now that’s something that does not happen every time!

We lose Pedersen to injury, but we have options so we travel to Spain with confidence. Just after half time we get 0-1 ahead, but give it away in the last 15 minutes. We played well, so we only have to blame ourselves.

Lokeren proves they are a solid team this season, but we manage to keep the 3 points at home.

Sint-Truiden, let me just say they are not that solid. We should have scored more than 4 goals, but that’s just me nagging about details.

Our Portuguese minus player is developing quickly. He no longer wants the Big Club release clause, funny enough, and I take full advantage.

Zaragoza, Zaragoza, you ARE the city of my dreams! I promised you a treat and here it is. You may like the song better than this blog update *chuckles*.

They didn’t see that coming, did they?

Another trip to Italy is next, so we are warned!

Gent manages to keep up in the first half, but their tired legs pay the price in the second half.

In a poor match we draw 0-0 against Lommel, but the lads make up for that big time against Club Brugge. That’s 9/9 against the Top Three teams so far!

That was a perfect preparation for Lazio. We recover two times from a deficit and at the end De Gier gives us the well-deserved victory! Probably that’s not enough to advance, but who cares, I consider this a good result.

We are top of the league, but my hometown Beveren is on the other side. Not even a single win in 15 matches. Gzil keeps the honour to himself and resigns. You should have done way sooner pal!

After each high-flying period there is typically a dip in form. A 1-1 draw against Westerlo makes me frown, but that’s nothing compared to what happens against Aalst…

We’re now halfway the league. Despite that ugly loss we’re comfortably in first place, and very important: a 9 point lead over the first Top Three team (Standard).

Can we successfully defend our slim advantage against Lazio? It’s a difficult match and we manage to hold them off in the beginning of the game. Raimond wants to be the hero of the evening and makes a few good saves. But then Neca, in all his youthful inexperience, gets sent off just before half time. We collapse in the second half and get completely overrun: 3-0.

Cup time! Time to straighten our backs after that beating in Rome. Victim: Dessel Sport.

The last one before the winter break is also the last one for today: we cruise past RWDM.

That’s it for today! Our European adventure may be over, but in the league everything so far is going to plan. What will happen after the break? Can we hold off the others and retain the title? We’ll find out next week.

Enjoy the weekend! Tot dan!

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