Relief at OHL after victory in the Kuipje: “One point behind Westerlo, while it was seven if we lost: a huge difference”

Siebe Schrijvers takes over the role of the injured Mathieu Maertens in the Leuven midfield. — © BELGIUM

Smiling faces, but mostly relief. That was noticeable at OH Leuven after the victory at Westerlo. “Because we hadn’t won anything after the World Cup break, we were longing for this,” said Siebe Schrijvers afterwards. The team from Leuven are back on course for the play-offs.

Milan Augustine

Six to eight weeks on the sidelines with a foot fracture. That is the hard verdict for Mathieu Maertens. His personal friend Siebe Schrijvers again took his place when he visited Westerlo. “I just experienced a serious injury myself, so I know what it is,” says Schrijvers. “You don’t wish that on anyone. I try to help Mathieu where necessary, especially by chatting. And he also wishes me every success position. It is not someone who is going to be jealous of me now.” The only advantage for Maertens: if OHL makes the playoffs, the season will last until mid-June and he can still play a lot of games.

The first half of OHL was pretty disastrous last night. “It was not good at all”, Schrijvers admitted without any problems. “We first took a breather at halftime and then identified everything that needed to be improved. You can also look at it positively: we reacted well and came out of the dressing room much better. After the break we immediately killed the game.”

Beforehand, Marc Brys called the match against Westerlo – direct competitor for the Europe play-offs – a “six-point match”. So victory tastes sweet. “This is very gratifying, because it was a very important match”, Schrijvers agreed. “We are now only one point behind Westerlo, while it would have been seven if we lost. That’s a huge difference. Because we had not won anything after the World Cup break, we were longing for this.”

Louis Patris made a similar match analysis. “We had a lot of trouble getting into the game, but luckily we were able to react in the second half,” he said afterwards. “Thanks to our character, because that made the difference. We have to admit that our first half was not good, but we are happy that we were able to recover.”

More realism

What was the difference with the two painful defeats against KV Kortrijk, in which OHL conceded three goals each time? “We brought more realism to both goals and were more efficient,” says Patris. “That is the difference with our previous matches, in which we certainly did not play less football.”

On the one hand, it was a week with a strong damper for OHL due to the retirement of Maertens. “Losing the captain is never easy,” says Patris. But the victory in Westerlo has given the citizen courage. It is also possible without Maertens. On group spirit and efficiency. “This way we will continue to compete for the play-offs. That’s good. Although Eupen is equally important on Tuesday. If we lose there, we don’t buy anything with this victory,” concludes Patris. It will be short day.

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