Anderlecht coach Brian Riemer has reacted on the club website to the outcome of the draw for the quarterfinals of the Conference League. The Belgian club will meet AZ. According to Riemer, an advantage for Anderlecht is that the fans only have to travel three hours for the game in Alkmaar. “If they are present en masse in the Lotto Park and in Alkmaar, that can be a real one game changer are for us,” he said on the club website.
AZ secured the quarterfinals of the Conference League on Thursday evening by eliminating Lazio 4-2 over two matches. Anderlecht was too strong for Villarreal at the same time; after a 1-1 draw in Brussels, goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen’s team was 0-1 too strong in Spain, thanks to a goal from Islam Slimani. Anderlecht and AZ will compete against each other in the quarterfinals, which will take place on Thursday 13 and 20 April. First in Brussels, a week later in the AFAS Stadium.
“AZ is doing very well this season, both in the league and at European level,” Riemer looks ahead. “They have a Danish striker, Jens Odgaard, who I know, so I’ve been following them for a while. Dutch football contains many elements that we respect and with which we can identify as a team. So I expect a very interesting match.”
Riemer hopes that support from the Anderlecht fans can be the deciding factor. “I see a big advantage for our fans as it is only a three hour drive from Brussels. Their support is so important to us. They pushed us to keep raising the bar. If they are present en masse in the Lotto Park and in Alkmaar, that can be a real one game changer are for us. Also in terms of our preparation and recovery, it’s a positive draw as we don’t have to travel too long.”
Reaction Pascal Jansen
AZ coach Pascal Jansen also responded to the draw on the club website of the Alkmaarders. In his own words, he had no preference in terms of opponent. “It would have been nice if we had had to play against John’s Lech Poznan (van den Brom, ed.). But we will have to postpone that for a while.” Like his colleague, Jansen sees an advantage in this draw. “We don’t have to travel that far. A lot has happened at Anderlecht lately, including a change of trainer. They knocked out two tough European opponents, including Villarreal. Then you can do something. It’s a good time to meet.”