When it comes to success, fans of KAA Gent have been spoiled in recent years. The "Buffalos" have finished outside the top six in the Belgian championship only twice in the last 15 years and won the Jupiler League title in 2015. The Flemish outfit were second when last season was brought to a halt in March, a placement that secured them a spot in European competition for the sixth season in succession. But the picture looks much less rosy this term.
Gent are currently down in 13th place after 10 rounds of matches and have fallen well short of expectations. Head coach Jess Thorup was fired in August after almost two years in the job. The Belgians have made international headlines since then, with successor László Bölöni lasting only 25 days in the hot seat. The players and fans turned on the Romanian coach and he was fired three matches later.
Wim De Decker was brought in to steady the ship on an interim basis, but Gent have failed to improve upon their miserable start under their third head coach of the season, losing six of their last seven matches in all competitions. In the UEFA Europa League too, they were beaten 1-0 away to Slovan Liberec in their opening game.
The sub-standard performances can be partly attributed to the squad overhaul in the summer. Sixteen players left the club, with Jonathan David's departure a particular blow. The 20-year-old Canadian youngster, who hopped across the border to join OSC Lille for €25 million, was held in high regard and impressed during his time in the Jupiler League, notching 18 goals and eight assists in 27 appearances.
Two new arrivals who have been brought in to help Gent get back on track are Tim Kleindienst and Niklas Dorsch. The German duo moved to Belgium from 1. FC Heidenheim in the Bundesliga 2 over the summer. But it has not been an ideal start to life with their new employers for the former Heidenheim men, with Kleindienst especially struggling to hold down a starting spot. The aim for the two new signings will be to bring about an upturn in results and restore the Buffalos to their former success. Ideally, starting against TSG Hoffenheim.