- AFAS-stadion Achter de Kazerne
- KV Mechelen lost 7-2 to Utrecht in a recent friendly – a few days before Antwerp drew 2-2 with the same club.
- Royal Antwerp are struggling to replace the goals of last season’s leading duo Mbokani (11) and Rafaelov (14).
Antwerp lacking cutting edge after key departures
KV Mechelen kick off the new season in Belgium with a visit from the team that finished third last season – Royal Antwerp.
De Kakkers made it to the play-offs for the European places last season, losing out to Gent for the questionable prize of a spot in Europa Conference League qualifying.
And coach Wouter Vrancken has set his team a minimum target finish of eighth – the same spot they occupied last term in the regular season.
Their away record was substantially (eight points over 17 games) better than their home one last season, but they did give Antwerp a 3-0 hiding at AFAS-Stadion.
The Great Old brought in ex-Midtjylland boss Brian Priske in the summer and he is looking to better their 20-21 placing, although he knows it will be tough because of the changes at the club.
Antwerp lost their two leading goalscorers of last term in the summer and appear to be pinning their hopes this season on unproven strikers.
A lack of a goal threat was evident in their recent 0-0 friendly draw with Monaco, which they dominated.
Mechelen scored just as many as they conceded last season – 54 – and will be entertaining to watch if they are anything like that again.
But we believe Antwerp’s solid defence will do its job and their impressive midfield will control the game on Sunday in a low-scoring affair that has all the hallmarks of an uninspiring goalless draw.
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- 30 Jul