If Club Brugge wanted to retain their title, then they needed to do much more during the week. After losing to St. Liege, Ivan Leko’s men find themselves four points behind current league leaders Genk, which means that Brugge has missed the opportunity to take the title race down to the wire. This home match against Antwerp represents a chance for them to regain the winning thread, but it’s too little, too late.
Whichever way we look at it, when they needed to deliver a big performance, Club Brugge simply wasn’t good enough. They were away against a decent Liege side, but manager Leko would’ve hoped for more from his boys, who created just 0.8 expected goals for and conceded 1.86. In truth, they deserved to lose and thus they deserved to lose their title.
As far as this game is concerned, the hosts ought to fancy themselves to at least end the season with a win. On their own patch, Brugge has performed well this season. During the regular season, only St. Liege took more points at home, while nobody scored more home goals than Club Brugge, who notched 36 goals in 15 games at Jan Breydel Stadium. Having won each of their last four at home, scoring 11 goals and conceding just two, Leko’s men will come into this match feeling confident.
During the regular season, Antwerp performed very well on the road. Only champions Genk accumulated more points than László Bölöni’s men, while no team conceded fewer goals than Sunday’s visitors, who shipped just 14 in 15 games. However, some of their performances since the league split have been weak.
Last time out on the road, Antwerp has beaten 4-0 by champions Genk. On that occasion, they created just 1.09 expected goals for, while they shipped 3.12. Such an effort doesn’t bode well ahead of their trip to face Brugge, who average 2.47 goals for and 2.22 expected goals for at home.
The visitors also recently got beaten by Liege on their travels. On that occasion, they shipped three goals, conceded 1.98 expected goals and created just 0.5. Even in one of their worst games of the season, Brugge did better than that.
In truth, the season is over for Brugge and Antwerp, so it’s won’t be a surprise if both teams are below their best, though it’s easy to feel that the hosts will be more fired up to end on a high. The visitors have had nothing to go at for a while, which has shown in some of their recent games. In contrast, Brugge will surely want to treat their home fans to a big win after their away-day disappointment last time out.
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