After being crownd the Champion of Belgian in May, the cherry on the cake was the direct qualification for the group phase in the Champions League!
We were all hoping on some big names and a team which we could beat so that we would win our first ever match in the Champions League!
Well we got some big names for sure! With Liverpool we did get the defending champion and Napoli was one of the most attractif teams from pot 2!
Salzburg did look a team we could handle! History told us other wise!
So the decision was quickly made to buy a subscription for all the 3 home games! And Genk did ask fair prizes for the 3 games!
We played our first game away at Salzburg, considering it was the weakest team of the 3, we did have dreams! This game was going to be crucial for the third spot in the group!
Genk wasn't playing on a cloud at that moment. At that moment Genk was already strungling in the Belgian competition and Mazzu couldn't find the balance in the team!
Salzburg did take us by surprise. Until then I haven't seen so many running players when in possession! Incredible! After two minutes we already knew the qualities of Haaland! And after 36 minutes we were 3-0 down! In the 40th minute we did score our first goal of the campaign but then we did collapse! And were 5-1 down before the thee break :(
So all hope on reaching the third spot was already vaporized!
Next up was the home game against Napoli which did give us hope! It ended is a scoreless draw, but at least we did earn our first point! We could have won, but Napoli also had chances to score the winning goal. At least we did see fighting spirit from the players in the pitch!
The home game against Liverpool wasn't bad either. Again figthing spirit and motivated players. Liverpool didn't really impress me but they won with 1-4!
Salzburg did impress me the most during our home game! It is really incredible how much pressure they do put on the field and how fast they do counterbreak! They didn't even need Haaland, which was sitting on the bench! And again we did surrender just before half time, getting 2 goals against in 3 minutes!
Overal we did score 5 goals which was more than expected, but we got 20 against which is just painful!
If we look only at the scoreboards it was more a nightmare than a dream! But the home games were worth it! With Haaland we did see a future star and it was great to see Salah, Origi, Van Dijk and Mertens!
Well the campaign did leave us wounded! The believe of the players is below 0. Nothing seems to work! So a lot of work has to be done during the winter break! It also did put some players with their feet back on the ground! They now do understand that they aren't ready to play at that level and some will probably never reached that level!
In 3 game we got the first goal against in the first minutes of the game. Which makes it even harder.
In only 2 games we were still tied at halftime! So we can honestly say that we weren't ready for it!
Also the number of fouls we made is surpringly low, in 6 games they players only made 53 fouls! Okay I can imagine that Barcelona, Liverpool and the City like teams of this world only make a so low number of fouls! But a team which is playing CL for the first time since long would need to have fighting spirit with the nerves to take out the angle of an attack early on the midfield! But no we did have too much respect and just let the players running and running almost guiding them towards the goal!
Lot's of work have to be done! Genk needs to play smarter and make those proffesional fouls if they do want to grow as a team! Now it looks like the attackers do think that the midfielders will do this, while they expect it from the defenders and so on!
Sigh! But it still was blast to go to the 3 home games with the oldest son! Those were moment we will never forget!