Belgium kickstart this month’s international break on Wednesday when they play hosts to Switzerland at the King Power Stadion in Leuven.
Following a few weeks of packed club footballing action, the international break is finally upon us, with Belgium among many nations set to resume their schedule on Wednesday, when they play hosts to Switzerland in a friendly.
Belgium have done extremely well on the international stage and are currently at the top of the FIFA World Rankings. They are also leading the UEFA Nations League table, in a group that involves England, Denmark and Iceland.
So this friendly on Wednesday should give Roberto Martinez with an ideal opportunity to test his men before resuming their Nations League campaign against England on Sunday.
Switzerland, on the other hand, have fared quite poorly in the said competition. They have, in fact, failed to win any of their four matches, though, in truth, the Reds have been drawn against tough oppositions including Germany, Spain and Ukraine.
As a matter of fact, Switzerland claimed their second point of the campaign in their very last match when they managed to hold Germany to a 3-3 draw. So, Vladimir Petkovic will hope that his side has what it takes to get the better of a team like Belgium as well. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this fascinating contest this midweek.
Team News & Tactics
There have been notable call-ups for the Belgium team heading into this international break including Hertha Berlin forward Dodi Lukebakio and Rennes wonderkid Jeremy Doku. AC Milan’s hot prospect Alexis Saelemaekers was called up as well, but the youngster, as well as Leandro Trossard, had to return to their respective clubs because of injuries.
Goalkeeper Hendrik van Crombrugge also had to return to his club. As a result, Thomas Kaminski of Blackburn Rovers has joined the setup, although we are expecting Koen Casteels to start in between the sticks for the home side.
— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) November 6, 2020
There could be rare starts for players like Sebastiaan Bornauw and Brandon Mechele as well, although the Belgian backline should likely be led by Thomas Vermaelen. The likes of Toby Alderweireld and Jason Denayer, meanwhile, could be rested for the England game.
Martinez could follow the same formula in midfield as well. Both Axel Witsel and Youri Tielemans have played demanding games against Bayern Munich and Wolves on the weekend respectively, so there could be a place in the lineup for Leander Dendoncker, even though he played against both Tielemans and Dennis Praet in the Leicester City vs Wolves game.
Dendoncker is set to be partnered by Hans Vanaken in the double-pivot, though youngster Charles De Ketelaere will hope to make his debut for the Belgium team from the bench.
And finally, Jeremy Doku and Thorgan Hazard are the ones expected to operate in the wider attacking positions, looking to provide creative support for the central striker Michy Batshuayi.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Casteels; Bornauw, Mechele, Vermaelen; Meunier, Dendoncker, Vanaken, Chadli; Doku, Batshuayi, Hazard
Much like Belgium, Switzerland coach Petkovic is also expected to field a relatively weaker side in order to provide breathers to some of his big-name players including Manuel Akanji, who was involved against Bayern Munich in Der Klassiker.
Nico Elvedi also featured in the intense Rhinelandderby on Sunday so there might be a place in the team for Fabian Schar, Eray Comert and Becir Omeragic. These three will form the central defensive unit for the away side, although unfortunately, Gregor Kobel is unavailable in goal due to injury. Yann Mvogo is the likely choice in between the sticks.
Aufgebot / Sélection / Convocazione
11.11, 20h45, Bruxelles
14.11, 20h45, Basel
17.11, 20h45, Luzern
?Live SRF 2, RTS 2, RSI La 2 & https://t.co/0gYiELnZcu
— ?? Nati (@SFV_ASF) November 6, 2020
Jordan Lotomba is the likely to get the nod ahead Stefan Widmer in the right wing-back slot, with Steven Zuber occupying the opposite flank. The likes of Loris Benito and Ricardo Rodriguez do serve as potential alternatives.
Remo Freuler and Granit Xhaka are the usual starters in central midfield, but Petkovic’s rotation policy could see Edimilson Fernandes and Djibril Sow operating in the double-pivot, with Xherdan Shaqiri playing in the advanced midfield role.
The Liverpool attacker will look to provide creative support for the two central strikers Breel Embolo and Haris Seferovic.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Mvogo; Comert, Schar, Omeragic; Lotomba, Sow, Fernandes, Zuber; Shaqiri; Seferovic, Embolo
- Roberto Martinez’s men have won 13 of their preceding 15 overall games, and have scored an impressive 51 goals during this stretch.
- Les Diables Rouges have recorded three wins in their last five meetings against Switzerland (D1 L1).
- Belgium have scored two or more goals in their previous four fixtures against Switzerland.
- In the last 37-year-period, Switzerland have beaten Belgium only once.
- They have a 100% unbeaten record at home, and a 100% winning record in such games since 1983.
Player to Watch
— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) November 9, 2020
Despite the availability of numerous star players, Belgium’s most lethal going forward this midweek could be Thorgan Hazard. The Belgian has been one of the most in-form players for Borussia Dortmund this season, though his progress was stifled by an injury earlier in the campaign.
Hazard has shown a lot of improvement in his game under Lucien Favre. His technical prowess combined with versatility and a willingness to take on opposing defenders could cause problems for the Switzerland defence that already looks quite weak.
Belgium 2-0 Switzerland
Belgium have a formidable record at home against Switzerland, who are also likely to field a weaker team, meaning there’s no reason to bet against a win for the home side this midweek. However, we are unlikely to see too many goals in this game.