Meet "the architect" and "the beast"

AA Gent's first win the Champions League (1-0 against Valencia) was the result of strong team performance with an important role for every player. The pieces of the puzzle fitted thanks to coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck, the rising star among the Belgian football coaches, and two players played a particular role yesterday: Sven Kums and Laurent Depoitre, dubbed the architect and the beast.
Sven Kums, operating in midfield, is a key link in the team.

Some names popped up just a little more often after the yesterday's match: the name of coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck, architect and captain Sven Kums (who kept cool to convert a crucial penalty, after several opportunities had been missed) and striker Laurent Depoitre (small photo), who was nursing an ankle injury and who was uncertain to play even until an hour before the match.

Dubbed 'the beast' or 'the bear' by his team mates, Depoitre is a tall, heavy striker ( 91 kilograms for 6 feet, 4 inches) who acts a as target man who can keep the ball and keep two or even three defenders busy, creating more space for his team mates.

Depoitre, who turns 27 next month, was playing in second division only 3 years ago, at Eendracht Aalst. He next moved to KV Oostende and switched to AA Gent in the summer of last year, to become one of the pillars of strength to make AA Gent champions for the first time in the club's history.

Only maturing at a later age, Depoitre is still making progress at 26. The tall striker is being followed by Tottenham scouts. They probably had a good report after the match. Most Belgian newspapers elected him 'man of the match'.

A quiet and modest player, Depoitre, a French speaker born in Tournai, was selected for the Belgian national team for the first time last October, scoring one goal against Andorra.

Yorick Jansens

Trio to become 4?

27-year-old Sven Kums plays a crucial role in midfield, accelerating the game or slowing things down when necessary. He was also selected for the Red Devils last October, together with Ghent goalkeeper Matz Sels, who didn't have too much work against Valencia this time, but who was there when needed.

While the Ghent trio Sels, Kums and Depoitre (photo below) was called to the national squad in a first in October, winger Thomas Foket, shining on the right flank yesterday and the author of a thundering goal in Valencia, could be the next one, pundits claim. This makes AA Gent the Belgian club with the most international players, in a squad where most of the internationals are playing abroad, especially in England.

Ghent are currently leading the top flight in the domestic competition, but some fear the present success could have a bad effect in the longer run, as the best players could be transferred. AA Gent were able to keep the whole team together after claiming the title last spring.