Last year, OH Leuven made it to the quarter finals of the Croky Cup for the first time in its existence. The goal this season is clear: to do at least as well. And so KV Kortrijk has to go for the ax tonight. “I have the feeling that the cup is very much alive in Leuven,” says Marc Brys.
We have to ask them every year, the question of how important the cup actually is. Just because it often turns out to be so difficult to focus on two competitions at the same time. “Fuck, I didn’t want that question”, Marc Brys responds with a witticism. Let’s face it: the top priority at OH Leuven is still to reach the play-offs, but a long cup adventure is also tempting. “I have the feeling that the cup is very much alive in Leuven,” says Brys. “A lot of people talk to me about it.”
The people from Leuven have absolutely no successful cup history, but last year that changed a little bit. Finally, OHL made it to the quarterfinals. Club Brugge was too strong in that. Tonight, at home, a new chance awaits to get to the last eight again. KV Kortrijk is the opponent. On paper an achievable card – the Guys are only seventeenth in the league and are putting everything on preservation. The only unpredictable factor is what the arrival of the new coach, Bern Storck, will bring about.
OHL has completed a successful internship in Algorfa, Spain. After the internship, the focus gradually shifted to the specific preparation towards Kortrijk tonight. Brys tries to get his boys as sharp as possible at the kick-off. “If you go into a raw competition, you also have to coach raw,” he knows. “Then you shouldn’t go anointing. You must be ready.”
By the way, Brys has no intention of anointing Joël Schingtienne either. He says he has tackled the twenty-year-old talent hard in the past period, but in the meantime the central defender is making visible progress. An internship is always an excellent opportunity to further integrate young people into the group. “Joel stuck around for a long time, but now he’s made three leaps forward in one go,” says Brys. “Finally his eyes have opened. Now he realizes what it takes to get there. He has tremendous intrinsic qualities. He is super fast and also strong. If he doesn’t succeed, he’s done a bad job.”
After the Spanish internship, Brys emphasized how happy he was that the entire group had returned to Belgium unscathed. Moments later, another setback followed. Left back Hamza Mendyl fell out. His ankle ligament was hit during a training in the gym. It is unclear how long he will be out. It can go a little bit either way. The Moroccan himself still hopes to be there tonight in the best scenario, but the medical staff also takes into account a longer period on the sidelines. “It puts a damper on the preparation for the second round,” said a disappointed Brys.
There was also good news, thanks to Siebe Schrijvers. Twice in fact, that good news. Firstly, after eight months of rehabilitation from Achilles tendon surgery, he has already played parts of practice matches and is very close to being able to play in official matches. Second: Schrijvers has signed up until 2027. His current contract ran until 2024. The Limburger is now 26 and seems to be planning to spend a considerable part of his career in Leuven.