It was a serious downer for Club Brugge that Mats Rits (28) tore his cruciate ligament last Sunday. Running ability, scoring ability: the midfielder had become an almost indispensable link in the whole for both Philippe Clement and Alfred Schreuder. With four crucial matches to go in the title fight, the question arose: who should replace him?
Ruud Vormer seemed the logical option. The 33-year-old captain was allowed to fill in for Rits and purely looking at the position, it was even the only option, except for the young Cisse Sandra. Only Vormer’s substitute wasn’t exactly great. Especially on the ball and in the zone of truth, he couldn’t hide the fact that he lacks rhythm. Understandable, because in the series of ten unbeaten duels in a row he only played 175 of the 900 minutes, but it has ensured that Schreuder has made a different choice towards next Sunday. In the crucial top match against Union, the Dutchman will more than likely set up Eder Balanta (29).
Balanta has also played very little lately. From the beginning of March to the beginning of April, the Colombian stayed on the couch for a whole month. As a breaker, he simply did not fit into the combination football that Schreuder had in mind. But now, in money time, he can still start and is in pole position to start against the competition leader. In the Duden Park there will be a fight for every scrap of ground and that against an offensively strong team. That is also an explanation for the more defensive intervention.
Role as supersub?
Club has two days to prepare for the squatter, so Schreuder has two days to change his mind. But if that is not the case, this is the umpteenth blow for Vormer. At the beginning of this season under Clement, he already fell next to the starting eleven in the prestigious home games against PSG and Manchester City. When Schreuder came, he was reinstated, but soon lost his place again to Odoi. This was an opportunity to end his season – and who knows, his Club career – in beauty, but that will be difficult. A role as supersub then?