After Thursday’s thrilling victory in Villarreal, RSC Anderlecht will face AZ Alkmaar in the quarter finals of the Conference League. The first leg will be played at home in the Lotto Park on Thursday 13th of April (21:00).
Coach Brian Riemer, still buzzing after the win in Spain on Thursday, reacts to the draw.
“AZ have done really well, both in the league (AZ are currently sitting third) and on a European level, having eliminated teams like Atalanta and Lazio. So we know it’s gonna be a tough game against a team that plays very good football. They have a Danish striker, Jens Odgaard, that I know, so I’ve been following them for a while now. Dutch football contains a lot of elements that we respect and that our team can identify with as well, so I expect a very interesting game. Like I said before, whether it’s AZ, Fiorentina, West Ham or Nice, there are no easy games if you are one of eight teams left in a European tournament. We have to enjoy this, and I do have a good feeling that we can do well in the quarter finals.”
“There’s a big advantage for our fans, since it’s only a three hours drive from Brussels. Their support is so important for us. They’ve pushed us to raise the bar and that’s simply incredible. So for us to have a big support in the away game, that can be a game changer. Also in terms of preparation and recovery, the less we have to travel, the better, so that’s also positive.”
“I also want to congratulate Union and Gent with their performances and their qualification. To have three teams in the quarter finals, that’s a massive statement for Belgian football. We need to mention Bruges as well. They managed to survive the group stage of the Champions League, that’s a great achievement. We have to remember that in Europe, we’re on the same team, in the sense that we need the points for the European coefficient in order to qualify directly for the Champions League in the future as well. We can all benefit from that.”
"These call-ups for the national teams are a big testimony to the quality and talent we have in our squad"
Coach Riemer also reacted to the call-up for Jan Vertonghen and Zeno Debast for the Belgian national team, as well as Bart Verbruggen’s first selection for the Dutch national team and Anders Dreyer’s call up for Denmark.
“They have all thoroughly deserved their call-up. Belgium, Holland and Denmark are huge football nations in terms of their ranking in Europe. It’s a big testimony to the quality and talent we have in our squad. It's a huge compliment for the club as well, to be recognized on that level. It’s something we should be very proud of.”