From the World Cup to the Croky Cup: barely two days after Lionel Messi lifted the World Cup, ten Belgian clubs kick off their 1/8th final of the Croky Cup. Union is one of those teams: the team from Brussels will receive Oostende tonight in their search for revenge for last season’s disappointing cup campaign.
The atmosphere is good at Union: with a great victory over Standard, the people of Brussels went into the winter break with the perfect feeling. Two weeks of vacation and an internship in sunny Marbella later, it’s time for the real work again: part two of the ‘confirmation season’ starts with a cup match at home against KV Oostende. Followed by a competition match against the same Kustboys.
The confidence to also make a success of the second half of the season is certainly there. Union is currently in second place in the Jupiler Pro League and the team from Brussels also did fantastic in Europe by winning their Europa League group. They also remained in the winning mood on stage: Union practiced against the French first division club Angers and won 3-2 after goals from Eckert, François and Nieuwkoop.
With Ostend, Union immediately gets a feasible card in the Croky Cup, especially if we look at the mutual confrontations. In October, Union won 1-6 against the Kustboys, last year it even won 1-7. Although there will be no underestimation, because if someone can always motivate his team, it is Karel Geraerts. And the 40-year-old Limburger knows all too well that cup football is the shortest way to Europe. It is the ambition of him and the entire group of players to be able to play in a European group stage next year, so the Croky Cup had better be taken seriously.
One Union player must certainly watch from the stands: 19-year-old Casper Terho. The Finnish winger was announced as the latest signing in September, but he will only be eligible to play from January 1. The youth international who came over from Helsinki did go on an internship and also played in the exhibition match against Angers, although he can make his official debut for the vice champion at the earliest in the league match against Anderlecht on January 8.
For the rest, coach Karel Geraerts can call on a fully fit core for the first time this season: the Japanese Koki Machida, who left a good impression in the three-man defense last season, but played less than a minute this season due to a hip injury, is finally ready to play and can compete with Siebe Van der Heyden. Luxury.
Revenge for last year
One thing is certain: Union wants to finish a better cup campaign this season than last season. Then the team from Brussels immediately fell in the 1/8th finals on the field of KV Mechelen, although Felice Mazzu did field a B-team. The chance that Geraerts will do this is very small. Everyone can use some match rhythm again, because it has been 36 days since Union played an official match.