Revelations sign up, swear by data and few newcomers expected: this is what you need to know about Cercle Brugge at the start of 2023

Kévin Denkey has already scored twelve times for Cercle this season. — © BELGIUM

2022 was a blessed year for Cercle Brugge, a grand cru even. Also the best year since 2010. Doing at least as good in 2023 is now the big goal. On Saturday against Westerlo, green-black wants to confirm for the first time. Feasible, because in 2022 only KV Oostende and Antwerp could win at Cercle. You should know this about Cercle at the start of a new year.

Koen Verdruye

New contract for revelations

At one point Dominik Thalhammer achieved 24 out of 30 with Cercle. Miron Muslic will not beat this record now, but the former assistant successfully took over and drove a nice course so far. It soon earned him an improved contract. That was also the case for the young defender Christian Ravych, who came over for free from Club Brugge, but at some point broke through and became a permanent fixture. Ravych promptly signed up. A new contract is also ready for Thibo Somers and Charles Vanhoutte. Dino Hotic still has doubts.

No invasion of newcomers

The endangered teams such as KV Oostende, KV Kortrijk and Zulte Waregem are currently busy recruiting new players. Cercle can look up rather than down. There is enough quality, even if Utkus and Sousa are out for a long time and Ravych and Van der Bruggen also dropped out for several weeks. Heitor left for Brazil, but a young Jamaican came in his place. Ximines is a right back who will play for Jong Cercle for the time being. Velkovski and Larade are also allowed to leave. Sporting director Carlos Avina is looking for two more reinforcements.

The importance of data

Cercle swears by data analysis. All players are screened daily. At first there was suspicion, but the results now prove otherwise. Cercle is also a very young team, one of the youngest in Europe. In 2022 it achieved 46 points, good for eighth place all year round and the best result since 2010. At home, Cercle only lost twice, against Ostend and Antwerp. Kévin Denkey was the sixth best shooter with twelve goals. No less than eight players were selected for their national team and five for the U23. Four players – Ravych, Torres, Kehrer and Wilke – made their debuts at the highest level.

©  Isosport

CEO for the interim

Ben Lambrecht quickly made a career in football. He left his mark on Cercle in his own way and that earned him a top job as the new CEO of AS Monaco after a year and a half.

Cercle is also still under his wing. Pascal Platteau from West Flanders worked together with Lambrecht at Coca Cola. The latter brought Platteau to Cercle as a financial man. Platteau is now CEO ad interim, but there is a good chance that it will become a permanent appointment, as he is a confidant of Lambrecht and can continue the policy.

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