- Standard Liege have a fully fit squad after their 1-1 friendly draw with Borussia Monchengladbach.
- Gent are without striker Laurent Depoitre, who missed their 1-0 Super Cup defeat last weekend.
- Gent have not won an opening game of the league season for ten years.
Buffaloes are notoriously slow starters
Gent will be made to work hard for anything on Friday when the Buffaloes travel to Sclessin to take on Standard Liege in Belgium’s First Division A. Hein Van Vanhaezebrouck’s side have plenty going for them this season after adding to a squad that won the domestic cup and being the only top club with continuity in the dugout.
There will be pressure on them to start the league campaign with a win – something the club has not done since 2012. Gent warmed up for the fixture by losing 1-0 to champions Club Brugge in the Super Cup, although it was a close contest and one they could have won.
Standard, under new boss Ronny Deila, enjoyed the lion’s share of play and chances in a 1-1 home draw against Borussia Monchengladbach in their final pre-season friendly game. Deila has reported a clean bill of health and it sounds like the mood in the home camp is good.
Gent strikers aren’t firing on all cylinders
Matches between these clubs in recent years have been pretty tight with Gent 1-0 winners at Sclessin last season and Standard prevailing 2-1 on two occasions the season before. The market makers clearly feel Standard, who lost several players in the summer transfer market, aren’t up to the level required to hold odds-on shots Gent at bay for 90 minutes.
But the visitors’ leading striker Tarik Tissoudali has had his head turned by transfer talk and wasn’t at his best in the Super Cup. Veteran forward Laurent Depoitre is working his way back to full fitness right now and won’t play while new recruit Hugo Cuypers has hardly trained or played with Tissoudali yet.
Gent might have finished last term well, but they have been notoriously slow starters the past two seasons and can be opposed for the win here by taking Standard in the double chance market with a 1-1 draw worth a play in correct score betting as five of the last seven previous encounters between these clubs have seen both teams score.