Anderlecht have announced the appointment of Hein Vanhaezebrouck as their new coach. We look at what they can expect from the new man, who worked miracles at Gent.
René Weiler joined Anderlecht at the start of last season and although that campaign began slowly, he led the club to their 34th Belgian title and the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.
This term, however, Anderlecht have endured their worst league start since 1998 and after a 2-2 draw at Kortrijk on 16 September they were in ninth place, with nine points from seven games. That result followed on from the opening 3-0 UEFA Champions League loss at Bayern München and spelled the end for Weiler.
What happened next?
Although under interim coach Nicolás Frutos they posted three straight league wins, performances have not been convincing and last week’s 3-0 UEFA Champions League home defeat by Celtic set more alarm bells ringing.
Who is Vanhaezebrouck?
A former defender who subsequently coached Kortrijk and Genk, Vanhaezebrouck last week left the hot seat at Gent, where he had taken charge in 2014 and in his first season ended their 115-year wait for a Belgian championship. The next campaign Genk became the first Belgian team in 15 years to reach the UEFA Champions League’s last 16 and they also impressed in last season’s UEFA Europa League, knocking out Tottenham Hotspur in the round of 32 (only to fall to Vanhaezebrouck’s old club Genk).
What can be expected
The 53-year-old Vanhaezebrouck likes to play pressure football, his success with Gent being mainly achieved with a 3-5-2 system utilising wingers. The coach once compared his kind of football to that of Bayern and Barcelona.
It is what Anderlecht have been seeking for a while: the champagne football that brought them glory in the 1970s and 80s. Without a point from two matchdays and with a double-header against Paris Saint-Germain looming, Anderlecht clearly have it tough in UEFA Champions League Group B, but in this competition with Gent, Vanhaezebrouck managed to turn things around and finish ahead of Valencia and Lyon after starting with a draw and two defeats.
One big advantage for the coach is that his captain from those days, midfielder Sven Kums, is already at Anderlecht, which could help the new man implement his master plan.