Belgian champions RSC Anderlecht will be looking to rescue their season when they take on Getafe CF in their final UEFA Cup group stage game.
Barring a win by five goals or more for Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC against Aalborg BK, a draw would take Anderlecht through to the next stage. That would bring some relief after failing to qualify for the UEFA Champions League and only lying seventh in the Eerste Klasse. A run of poor results has already led to the exit of club legend Frank Vercauteren.
The former Belgian national team and Anderlecht midfielder was dismissed as coach in early November and succeeded by assistant Ariël Jacobs. However, results did not improve and among some unsatisfactory league outcomes, they also drew 1-1 at home against Tottenham Hotspur FC in Group G. Anderlecht lost 1-0 to Belgian league leaders Club Brugge KV on Sunday and are now 13 points behind their rivals, something that has only happened twice in the last 30 years.
Jacobs to start afresh
The new coach is aware there is little time for his team to recover after the latest blow against Club Brugge. "The disappointment was felt deeply," Jacobs said. "But the fact we still have a European challenge will maybe allow us to turn that dark page faster. And not all was bad in Brugge, we have to build on the good first half we played there."
Even though a point should be enough for Anderlecht to progress, Jacobs is after all three: "If you start a game with the attitude of settling for a draw, then you have already lost before you start. We have come for three points. Getafe can be compared with Tottenham. Neither is doing so well domestically, but are still representatives of the strongest leagues in Europe. Getafe are a very technically skilled side. We have seen them play in several matches, and that made it clear that fast ball circulation, creativity and pressure up front are their strong points. So, a typical Spanish side."
Anderlecht go into the game without Mbark Boussoufa, Nicolas Frutos, Nicolas Pareja, Serhat Akın and Walter Baseggio through injury, while Ahmed Hassan is doubtful with a thigh problem. SK Slavia Praha captain Stanislav Vlček has arrived at the Belgian club for a trial, although if Anderlecht do progress, he will not be eligible to play because of Slavia's entry to the competition from the UEFA Champions League.
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