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[monks data]
May 21, 2022 at 7.45pm UK at AFAS-stadion Achter de Kazerne
0 - 0

Van Hecke (31'), Souza (54')

McKenzie (49'), Preciado (88')

Preview: Mechelen vs. Genk - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Belgian Pro League clash between Mechelen and Genk, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Genk will travel to take on Mechelen in the final game of the Belgian Pro League playoffs on Saturday.

Following a defeat to Gent last time out, the visitors have confirmed a second-placed finish in their playoff group, while the hosts need a win to stand a chance of ending third.

Match preview

Genk players celebrate their first goal scored by Ike Ugbo on November 25, 2021© Reuters

After a relatively tough campaign, Mechelen finished the regular Belgian season in impressive form, earning 19 points from their final 11 games to sneak into the top eight and book a place in the playoffs.

Finding themselves in the second playoff group, De Kakkers made a winning start, beating Charleroi 1-0 thanks to Jordi Vanlerberghe's goal to briefly move third in the group.

They have since failed to amass another point, though, firstly suffering a defeat at the hands of Genk before losing consecutive matches against group leaders Gent.

Wouter Vrancken's side then went into a crucial clash against Charleroi last time out, but they fell back behind their opponents following a 3-2 defeat, despite Gustav Engnall netting his second goal of the game to reduce the deficit to one with 15 minutes to go.

Now two points behind Les Zebres with one game to go, Vrancken's men will know they need a victory and for Charleroi to drop points on the final day to achieve a third-placed finish in the group and seventh overall.

They welcome a Genk side looking to end on a relative high after an underwhelming season by their own standards.

After dropping into a worrying position with two defeats and a draw consecutively in March, the four-time Belgian champions only managed to take a place in the top eight thanks to back-to-back wins to end the regular season.

They then began the playoff campaign on the front foot, defeating Gent 1-0 and Saturday's opponents 4-2 before having to settle for a point from a 2-2 draw against Charleroi.

They made a return to winning ways in the reverse fixture, but, needing a result to stand a chance of a first-placed finish in the second playoff group, they were unable to again overcome Gent last time out.

Bernd Storck's side were on the wrong end of a 2-0 defeat in that latest contest, seeing Gent seal a first-placed finish in the playoff group, and Genk, knowing they are set to end second, will look to end the campaign with an away victory at the weekend.

Mechelen Belgian Pro League form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Genk Belgian Pro League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L

Team News

Winger Nikola Storm will be vying for a return to the Mechelen starting XI, having been reduced to a substitute appearance last time out despite netting 16 league goals this term.

Similarly, Kevin Mrbati will hope for a starting place, having scored 10 times in the top flight, while Hugo Cuypers has 13 to his name in the league this season and will continue to lead the line.

Key midfielder Vinicius Souza was absent from the squad for the Charleroi clash and could again miss out on Saturday.

Genk's attacking line will be spearheaded by Paul Onuachu, who has found the net 21 times in the Belgian top flight across the regular season and playoffs this term.

Winger Junya Ito is somewhat of a creative hub, meanwhile, having accompanied his eight league goals with an eye-catching tally of 18 assists.

Bryan Heynen and Aziz Ouattara should again play at the base of midfield, while Kristian Thorstvedt will play at the centre of a supporting trio behind Onuachu.

Mechelen possible starting lineup:
Thoelen; Van Hecke, Wouters, Vanlerberghe, Van Hoorenbeeck; Oum Gwet, Schoofs; Engnall, Mrbati, Storm; Cuypers

Genk possible starting lineup:
Vandevoordt; Munoz, Sadick, Cuesta, Arteaga; Heynen, Ouattara; Ito, Thorstvedt, Bongonda; Onuachu

SM words green background

We say: Mechelen 1-3 Genk

Following their costly defeat to Gent, the visitors will be keen to bounce back to winning ways on the final day, and we see their strong squad having too much for Mechelen, particularly in attack.

For additional data used by our team to analyse our suggested result please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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