KVC Westerlo – Match Report vs Standard de Liège (13/08/2022)

KVC Westerlo got quite a lot of praise for their start in the Jupiler Pro League but after three matches they were still ‘only’ on three points. On the fourth matchday, Westerlo faced Standard de Liège at home and gave the fans their money’s worth. Both sides had their strong phases in the first half, but the hosts struck first. After a good cross from Dierckx, Vetokele headed in from close. In the second half, Westerlo doubled their lead through Nene. Standard managed to score twice after this, but on both occasions Westerlo responded quickly with a goal of their own, ending the game 4-2.

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Maxim De Cuyper

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Belgian
  • Age: 21
  • Date of Birth: 22/12/2002
  • Current Club: KVC Westerlo (On loan from Club Brugge)
  • Career: Club Brugge, KVC Westerlo (L)
  • Position: Left Back
  • Secondary Position: Left Wing, Right Wing
  • Preferred Foot: Left

Maxim De Cuyper joined KVC Westerlo on loan from Club Brugge at the start of last season. In his year with Westerlo on the second level of Belgian football, De Cuyper was playing a lot of different positions. This season he has really found his spot in KVC Westerlo’s 4-4-1-1 formation as their left back. De Cuyper still has a lot of freedom to go forward and help his team in attack. With Ján Bernát in front of him, who often sits a bit more narrow, he has plenty of space on the left flank.

De Cuyper’s energy against Standard was really admirable. Not everything he did was perfect but you could see that he would do anything to win this match. Standard’s right winger Aron Dönnum, who still hasn’t really found his place in Belgium, had a very tough match against De Cuyper. The young defender still has quite some room to improve in his defensive 1v1 duels and made a very clumsy challenge in the box which could’ve been a penalty. However, he seemed to read the game very well intercepting pass after pass before Donnum could even take his first touch.

The 1.82m tall left-back has quite a lean build and may not be the strongest player physically, but he definitely doesn’t shy away from the harder duels. De Cuyper seemed to be rapid on the first few meters and looked to have good speed over longer distances. He is also very agile, quickly able to turn in the tightest of spaces.

With the ball at his feet De Cuyper also looked very solid. He seems to have fine technique and often stepped into midfield, combining with Bernát and Nene. He showed good first touches and looked like a good dribbler, even though he wasn’t often taking on his direct opponent. He even had quite a good chance to score, when he received the ball on the edge of the box and created a lot of space for himself with a smart turn. The shot with his right foot wasn’t threatening though.

Rating – A2

Maxim De Cuyper is still a little bit of a raw talent, but definitely has a lot of potential. After this season his loan ends and he should be returning to Club Brugge. I think he could fit in their system perfectly, but with players like Bjorn Meijer, Tajon Buchanan and Eduard Sobol it could be hard for him to get a lot of minutes there.

Ján Bernát

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Slovakian
  • Age: 21
  • Date of Birth: 10/01/2001
  • Current Club: KVC Westerlo
  • Career: MSK Zilina, KVC Westerlo
  • Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Left Wing, Right Wing
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Ján Bernát started for the first time this season and played as the left midfielder in KVC Westerlo’s 4-4-1-1 formation. Bernát had a decent game against Standard but wasn’t involved quite enough in my eyes. After five minutes into the second half, the Slovakian found Dorgeles Nene with a lovely through ball and the Malian didn’t fail in front of the goalkeeper, doubling Westerlo’s lead. A few minutes later Bernát was substituted off. Overall his ball distribution was a bit of a mixed bag. He showed good awareness but his longer passes were too inconsistent.

Bernát was mainly playing as a sort of playmaker on the left site, most often occupying the left half-space. The 21-year-old liked to play short combinations with his teammates and definitely has some flair about him, showing some beautiful and effective back-heel passes. He showed some nice things with some great dribbles, but made too many mistakes in possession. It looked like he had good technique, but there were just too many moments where his first touch was poor or he needed too much time on the ball. I also feel like he doesn’t really fit into Westerlo’s system well. He could maybe do well as the second striker, but I felt like he was quite limited on the flank.

Standing at 1.80m Bernát looks quite average on the physical front. He has okay pace on the first meters and over long distances, but I don’t see him easily beating an opponent purely with pace. The 21-year-old showed great work ethics throughout the match, even though he clearly isn’t very good at defending he still gave 100% in his duels.

Rating – B2

Ján Bernát seems to have a little trouble adapting to the level of the Jupiler Pro League and I’m not sure if he fits in Westerlo’s system very well. Against Standard, he was very sloppy at times and had some phases where you barely saw him on the ball.

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