Anderlecht suddenly has to play with emergency defense in derby against Union: “No, Wesley Hoedt will not return”


How will Anderlecht’s defense look against Union on Sunday? Hannes Delcroix is ​​out for weeks, Wesley Hoedt is sidelined and Zeno Debast takes another ultimate test after his ankle injury. Coach Brian Riemer is not panicking yet. “I still see solutions, even midfielder Amadou Diawara played in defense once.”

Jurgen Geril

Jan Vertonghen is the patron of the Anderlecht defense, but on Sunday Strong Jan really have to keep things straight at Purple & White. Hannes Delcroix is ​​out for about two months and Zeno Debast is struggling with the ankle. “Zeno is making progress in his rehabilitation,” said coach Brian Riemer. “Tomorrow (Saturday, ed.) he will train with the group for the first time. We’ll see how he reacts then. Our priority remains the health of the player. With some injuries you can force someone to play football, but we are not going to take any risks.”

If Debast does not make it to the derby against Union, few central defenders will be left. Then it becomes puzzling, unless the exiled Wesley Hoedt is allowed to return? “No, Hoedt’s situation remains the same,” Riemer continued. “There are other options. Killian Sardella can play football in this position or Noah Sadiki. It’s not just how we want to defend, but also how we want to build. In that sense, it can be an option to move even a midfielder back a row. For example, Amadou Diawara already played in the center of the back (against RC Genk, ed.) and he did not do that badly.”

So it may be an experimental rearguard and that just in a vital Brussels derby. Anderlecht lost the past five matches to Union and now finally has to get rid of its black beast. “Everyone in Anderlecht knows how important this match is. For the fans, for everyone… Also for me, because it’s my very first home match as Anderlecht coach. We want to show the supporters right away what we are capable of. We look at ourselves and not at those five defeats. Myself and several players weren’t even there. It is up to us to bring the pride back to the Lotto Park and break that negative series against Union.”

Jan Vertonghen is about the only remaining defender at Anderlecht. — © BELGIUM

Esposito not yet (completely) written off

The Astridpark is almost sold out for the derby. It will be a matter for Anderlecht to score, because it has been very difficult to do so in recent weeks. “There is still a lot of untapped potential and talent in this group,” said Riemer. “Fabio Silva may have scored less than he would like, but he can be very important for us.”

The question is also when a new striker will arrive. Or does a new defender have to be supplied first? And what about Sebastiano Esposito who is suddenly back from Italy. Should he still leave? “Jesper Fredberg and the scouting team are working very hard to find the right solutions,” Riemer concluded. “A new player must also fit into the structure of the team. As for Esposito: he is not fit at all at the moment. He left here with an injury and has not trained for a long time. He is now in the hands of the medical staff and I never saw Sebastiano at work. Will Esposito ever have a chance to play matches? Everything is possible. As long as a player is here and allowed to compete, they can qualify. But we still have to look at all that.”

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