Today Genk will start of their third Champions League campaign. Everybody is looking forward to this with excitement but also with a little bit of fear!
We are afraid to end this Champions League campaign with 0 points! This is not unlikely. Napoli and Liverpool will/should be to strong for us. So the points have to be gained against Salzburg.
Third time right?
That is the million dollar question.
We have played in total 12 CL games, but are still missing the sweet taste of a victory! We did lose 5 times but also did draw 7 times.
We will face Liverpool and Napoli at home in the first 3 games. So probably no chance there. If we would have received them at home in game 5 or 6, we maybe had a chance. Both teams will be probably already qualified by then (at least that is what everybody thinks). Now we will face both teams away, when they are probably already qualified but beating them at their own grounds will be nearly impossible even if the will give some key players some rest!
So, all hopes are on the games against Salzburg! But this won’t be easy. On the 10 year ranking of the UEFA coefficient list, Salzburg stands on place 35 with 85.5 points, Genk stands 13 places lower with 58.5 points. Salzburg did win the championship in Austria 6 season in a row! But since the take over by the Red Bull company they didn’t qualify for the Champions League! In their past 2 season they did reach the semis of the Europa League in 2018 in which they were eliminated by Olympic Marseille and last season they did reach the round of 16 in which they were eliminated by Napoli. So they do have enough experience in Europe!
At the moment, just like in the last season, they are crushing the Austrian Bundesliga with 7 matches played, 21 points and a goal difference of +28.
If we do want to have slim hopes on ending on the third spot, we at least need a draw in the opening game of the Champions League campaign number 3. But this will be more difficult than most of the supporters can imagine. Read below why! And for sure be impressed by the home record of Slazburg!
While it doesn’t say everything, the complete market value of the squad should be an indication.
Well the total value of Salzburg according to transfermarkt is 95,00 Mio. €, the market value of Genk is 122,15 Mio €.
So while the market value is in favor of Genk there are also reasons why Salzburg is the favorite at home.
Genk is starting a new squad and is more or less building a new team. This goes with ups and downs. Mentally they still look insecure.
Last year Salzburg faced Club Brugge is the Europa league. After loosing 2-1 away in Brugge, they did win easily with 4-0 at home.
Their home record is just impressive. They last time they did loose at home was on the second of October 2016! That is 3 years without a home win in a game which counts! How about that!
This is a streak of 65 unbeaten games at home. From those 65 games, none less than 57 were won. And these are not only the games from the Austrian Bundesliga but also from the Europa League. They took the scalp of Napoli, Celtic, Marseille, Dortmund, Club Brugge and Lazio!
But Salzburg does have it difficult to get clean sheets at home.
Also according to the bookmaker Genk doesn’t stand a chance! The odds are 1.48 for a home win, 5 for a draw and 6.1 for a win of Genk.
With the above non loosing streak at home, they odds from the bookies doesn’t surprise me!
So Genk has everything against them. A more or less new team, a new coach, players who only did arrive at the end of the transfer window. Lot’s of key players just coming back from an injury!
But there are chances. Salzburg does like to attack and by doing they will space away at the back. This will give excellent possibilities for Ito to use his pace!
Salzburg is at the moment a goalscoring machine and Genk also have problems with keeping their nets clean. We will have to play with grinta, with the knife between the teeth. We need to have the balls to play football, to pass the ball around even under pressure. Salzburg will start the game fearless with putting full court pressure, to write it down in Basketball terms. The key players of Genk need to step up! I am sure that we will score at least one goal, like we always do. But the question will be, if it will be enough!
Maehle will replace De Norre compared with the last competition game. Samata seems fit enough to start the game. Hrosovsky will need to lead the troups with his Champions League experience!
Mazzu needs to find a tactical solution to the full court pressure of Salzburg without starting to defensive!
Genk did start most of the games this season to weak and sometimes did look uninspired! If the players can’t inspire and motivate themselves by the Champions League hymn, we do have a complete different problem!
Go Racing, Go!