“We’ll be playing to win in Mechelen”

KAS Eupen’s next Pro League tie takes it to KV Mechelen. A quick look at the table reveals the tenseness surrounding Saturday evening’s game: five games before the end of the season, KAS Eupen is just two points ahead of bottom club KV Mechelen. In the run-up to the away tie in Mechelen, KAS head coach Claude Makelele spoke about the importance of the match, underlining the role of KAS Eupen fans as the 12th player of his team. 

Is the duel with KV Mechelen your most important game since you took over the helm here at KAS Eupen? 

Obviously this is a key match, but not the most important one since I arrived here. For us, every match is important. We take each match as it comes. Obviously, the final score is exceptionally important for us and we’ll be doing everything to take as many points as possible off other clubs also fighting to stave off relegation.

Many people refer to such a constellation as a 6-point match. Do you share that opinion?

No, in my view there’s no such thing as a 6-point match. The winner of this game, as with any other one, gets 3 points. And you’ve got to be realistic and just see those 3 points.

How is the team facing up to this new challenge? Is the pressure higher than usual?

There’s been no change in the pressure on us. Our situation was difficult right from the start, but we’ve fought hard and made progress. We’re now in an upward spiral. And in this sense, we are trying to remain focused on picking up as many points as possible. My team is well-prepared for the match, we have now got a robust squad, and we know what to expect in Mechelen. We’ve now got to get out onto the pitch and demonstrate how well we can play football.

KAS Eupen is currently two points ahead of Mechelen. Have you considered aiming for a 1-point draw, or will you be out to win?

We play football to win. Uncompromisingly. We’re not looking for a draw. Obviously, the game can end in a draw, but we’ll be coming out onto the pitch with the clear aim of coming away with three points.

Any idea how you will be replacing your suspended forward Mamadou Koné?  

Yes. Following our last training session, I now know which players are in form and what I have to do to field a winning team.

Over the past few weeks, the support of Eupen fans has increased appreciably. Despite the school holidays and Carnival, we can expect several hundred KAS fans to make the trip to Mechelen. How important is this fan support? 

This support is naturally very important for the team. The fans are a great help in making the team even better. The players are very much aware of the support, and they really need it, especially in difficult situations. In the situation we are in at the moment, our fans are like having a 12th player on the pitch.

Info for fans: No combi-rule – Travel by car allowed

No combi-rule applies for the tie between KV Mechelen and KAS Eupen (kick-off at 20:00 on Saturday). KAS Eupen fans can thus travel to the match by car. Tickets will be available at the gate, and cost either €15 (standing) or €20 (seat). For under-18s, the cost is €10 (standing) or €15 (seat).

Please note: the deadline for reserving a place in the fan bus and the advance booking of stadium tickets is 17:00 on Friday. CLICK HERE for more info.

Public viewing, live ticker and radio 

KAS Eupen fans unable to accompany the team to Mechelen are invited to our public viewing in Café Penalty. Enjoy a touch of Carnival while watching the game on the large screen. The public viewing is organised with the support of Eulogic Informatics and begins 90 minutes before kick-off.

Further opportunities to follow the match between KV Mechelen and KAS Eupen are offered by Proximus TV, the live ticker on the KAS Eupen homepage, and on the radio (BRF, RTBF, VRT and Radio Sunshine).