Astra vs Genk
Competition: Europe League
Date: 16th February 2017
Kick-off: 19:00 CET
I expect an interesting match between Romanian side Astra Giurgiu and Belgian outfit Genk. Astra have the home advantage on the first match, however they failed to win any of the previous four home games so far in this competition. Astra played a draw against Roma, Viktoria Plzen and West Ham, while lost to Austria Vienna. On the contrary, they managed to win three of their four away matches, losing only in Italy. It is clear coach Sumudica has no problem to base his tactic on counter-attacks. He has some additional issues as two midfielders are suspended – Florin Lovin and Boubacar Mansaly have accumulated yellow cards and can’t play in the first match.
Genk played solid through the group stage and have obtained four victories in six matches. The away form wasn’t at desired level as they suffered two defeats on three matches played on road. However, Genk are in solid form at the moment. They have two victories and one draw in the last three matches in Jupiler League in which they kept clean sheets on all three fixtures. Coach Albert Stuivenberg has no suspension worries ahead of this match, but five players (Vanzeir, Karelis, Bizot, Susic and Dewaest) are struggling with injuries. Just to mention, Karelis is the club leading scorer. Another player should also be mentioned – Bailey left the club and joined Leverkusen.
Astra vs Genk: Head-to-head Stats
This is the first meeting between Astra and Genk. Even more, this is Astra’s first encounter with Belgium club and the first Genk’s match against any Romanian outfit.
Astra vs Genk: Prediction
Astra are hosts and they must try to win ahead of the reverse fixture. They didn’t play during the weekend and they are fully focused on this match. However, I believe Coach Sumudica won’t play too open. First he will try not to concede, and only then to score. He will be missing two midfielders due to suspension. The guests, meanwhile, are without the best scorer Nikolaos Karelis who is sidelined due to a heavy injury. Now Coach Stuivenberg has only one recognized striker in Ally Mbwana Samatta. Considering these facts, I expect a low scoring match at Marin Anastasovici Stadium in Giurgiu.
Astra vs Genk: Tips
Bookies are offering 2.50 for Astra to qualify for the next stage and I see a value there. Genk will play without key striker Karelis due to injury and that’s a big handicap. Coach Stuivenberg has no adequate replacement for him. That’s not all, he is also without Bailey who scored 4 goals in the group stage of this competition. Bailey was sold to Bayer Leverkusen for 13.5m Eur in January transfer window. Let me explain the situation this way – Genk have scored 13 goals in the group stage of UEFA Europe League and almost half of them (6) were scored by Karelis and Bailey.