K.R.C. Genk

Koninklijke Racing Club Genk (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈkoːnɪŋkləkə ˈreːsɪŋ ˌklʏp ˈxɛŋk]),[3] commonly known as KRC Genk, Racing Genk or simply Genk, is a Belgian professional football club based in the city of Genk in Belgian Limburg. Racing Genk plays in the Belgian Pro League and have won four championship titles; in 1998–99, in 2001–02, in 2010–11 and in 2018–19. They have also won five Belgian Cups, most recently in 2020–21. They qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage in the 2002–03, 2011–12 and 2019–20 seasons.

KRC Genk
K.C.R. Genk club crest
Full nameKoninklijke Racing Club Genk
Nickname(s)Blauw-Wit (Blue-White)
De Smurfen (The Smurfs)
Founded1988 (merged with KFC Winterslag)
GroundLuminus Arena, Genk
21,500 (UEFA matches)[2]
ChairmanPeter Croonen
ManagerJohn van den Brom
LeagueBelgian First Division A
2020–21Belgian First Division A, 2nd
WebsiteClub website
Current season

The club formed in 1988 by the merger of Waterschei Thor with KFC Winterslag, from which it took over the matricule number. It has been one of the most successful clubs in Belgium since the late 1990s and so they regularly qualify for European competitions. The club has been playing in the first division since the 1996–97 season. They play their home matches in the Luminus Arena. Their main outfit is blue and white.


KFC Winterslag history (1923–88)Edit

The club FC Winterslag was founded in 1923 and that gave it the matricule number 322. On its 35th anniversary the club added the Royal prefix Koninklijke to their name to become KFC Winterslag. In 1972–73 Winterslag reached the second division and they eventually qualified for the 1974–75 Belgian First Division after finishing second in the second division final round. They had taken advantage of the increase in the number of first division clubs (from 16 to 20). The club ended the season in last place but won the second division right after.

KFC Winterslag reached the 5th place in 1981 which allowed them to play UEFA Cup matches, where it defeated Bryne FK from Norway and English Premier league giant Arsenal.[4] In the next round it was knocked out by Dundee United from Scotland. Two seasons later it was relegated to the second stage after a disappointing last place. That season Standard Liège won the championship on bribery in a match against the club of Waterschei Thor that would eventually merge with the matricule number 322. Following a spell of four seasons in the second division, Winterslag found its place again in the first division by winning the 1987 final round, one point ahead of Tongeren. It finished 15th on 18 but at the end of the season, the club merged with the neighbour club of Waterschei Thor which was playing in the second division since its relegation in 1986.

K Waterschei SV Thor GenkEdit

K Waterschei SV Thor was created in 1919 as Waterschei's Sport Vereeniging Thor with Thor being the acronym of Tot Herstel Onzer Rechten (English: To recover our rights). It received matricule number n°533. The club enjoyed a spell in the first division in the late 1950s to the early 1960s and again from 1978 to 1986. After two seasons in the second division, K. Waterschei SV Thor Genk merged with KFC Winterslag to form KRC Genk.

During the 1982–83 season, the match between Standard Liège-Waterschei had been fixed and Standard eventually won the championship. Waterschei won the Belgian Cup twice (1980 and 1982). Quite remarkably, the latter victory led to Waterschei reaching the semi-finals of the European Cup Winners Cup in the 1982–83 season. After defeating PSG in the quarter-finals, Waterschei lost the first leg of the semi-final 5–1 at Pittodrie Stadium, home of the eventual winners, Aberdeen A 1–0 victory in Waterschei, courtesy of Eddy Voordeckers, could not reverse the position. They then merged with Winterslag in 1988 to form the current club.

K.R.C. Genk (1988–present)Edit

1990s and 2000s

The new club was named KRC Genk and as it kept the Winterslag ranking, it began in the first division but finished last. The next year Genk managed to win the final round in 2nd division and then played 4 seasons in the first division. In 1995 the club hired Aimé Anthuenis a coach and Racing finished second and skipped the final round as two first division teams merged (Seraing and Standard Liège). After an eighth place in 1997, the club had a good 1997–98 season with a cup win and a second place in the championship. In its first European season, Racing Genk eliminated successively Apolonia Fier and MSV Duisburg but it lost to Mallorca in the round of 16 after two draws (1–1 on aggregate) in the last Cup Winners' Cup ever. The season was ended well as Genk won its first Belgian championship in May, with manager Aimé Anthuenis then moving to Anderlecht.

Genk played in the UEFA Champions League in 1999–00 but lost in the second qualifying round to Maribor. The season was salvaged by winning the Belgian Cup again, this time to Standard, but Genk ended the championship in 9th place. It finished 11th in the following season and lost in the UEFA Cup second round to Werder Bremen after a win against FC Zürich. After this poor spell, Genk managed to win the championship once more in the 2001–02 season. In 2002–03, they reached the Champions League group stages for the first time in their history. Although they came 4th, they impressed fans with draws against Real Madrid, Roma and AEK Athens.

In the 2006–07 season, Genk finished second to Anderlecht. The Limburgians had been ahead almost the entire season but were pipped at the post by Anderlecht after losing at Germinal Beerschot. The 2007–08 season was a disaster, as Genk failed to finish in the top half of the division, ending in a disappointing tenth place.

Three bad seasons followed. Genk finished the 2007–08 season on 45 points and in 10th spot in the league: their worst result in seven years. The 2008–09 season was poor for Genk as well, finishing 8th in the league. The season ended on a positive note with them winning the Belgian Cup, which gave them a ticket to the fourth Europa League qualifying round. The 2009–10 season started badly when they were knocked out of the Europa League by Lille. Things did not go well in the domestic league either. Manager Hein Vanhaezebrouck was fired in December and was replaced by Franky Vercauteren. Genk finished 11th, but Vercauteren managed to lead the club to European football by beating derby rival Sint-Truiden in the final of Play-offs II.


The 2010–11 season started well for KRC Genk when they beat Inter Turku with 1–5 in Finland. They progressed to the 4th qualifying round of the Europa League and drew the Portuguese club Porto. Genk lost both games against Porto, despite two good performances.

On 30 January 2010, KRC Genk announced that coach Franky Vercauteren signed a new contract that ran untl June 2013.

They only lost their first game of the season on the 20th matchday and started the Play-offs in second place. The club won the 2010–11 Belgian Pro League after drawing 1–1 with title challengers Standard Liége.[5] This was KRC Genk's third league win in its history and its supporters celebrated with a pitch invasion straight after the final whistle.

On 11 August, coach Frank Vercauteren confirmed he was leaving Genk and signed with Abu Dhabi club Al-Jazira. In the 3rd Qualifying Round of the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League KRC Genk beat FK Partizan over two legs and drew Maccabi Haifa in the play-off Round. Maccabi Haifa beat Genk 2–1 in the first leg in Israel, while the second leg was won by Genk with the same 2–1 score in Belgium. During the penalty shoot-out, goalkeeper László Köteles helped Genk to qualify by saving two penalties.[6] For the second time in its history, KRC Genk reached the group stages of the UEFA Champions League. They were drawn in Group E with Chelsea, Valencia and Bayer Leverkusen.

In late August 2011, Mario Been was announced as the new manager. The Champions League campaign was one with ups and downs. Genk managed to get a 1–1 result against both Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen and a goalless draw against Valencia. Away from home, Genk lost all three games. The season in the Jupiler League was a difficult one, with Genk only just qualifying for the play-offs by finishing sixth in the regular competition. In the play-offs however, Genk started to play better and climbed up to third place. By finishing in third place, KRC Genk qualified for the third qualifying round of the Europa League.

The 2012–13 season started well for Genk by qualifying for the Europa League group stage after beating Aktobe and FC Luzern. In this group stage KRC Genk performed very well and ultimately won the group without a single defeat. Genk finished first with three points more than Basel and by doing so, qualified for the next round where they faced VfB Stuttgart. It was the first time in the club's history that they played European football after Christmas. Stuttgart got the better of Genk over the two games. In the league, Genk qualified for the play-offs and performed well until the title was out of reach; fifth place was the result. Genk ended their season on a positive note by winning the Belgian Cup. They defeated Cercle Brugge in the final, in front of 30,000 Genk fans.

In the 2016–2017 season, Genk participated in the UEFA Europa League; they started playing in the second qualifying round and qualified for the third qualifying round (on 21 July 2016)[7] and the play-off round (on 4 August 2016).[8] They won their group with 3 home victories over Athletic Bilbao, Rapid Wien and Sassuolo and after defeating Astra Giurgiu (2–2 and 1–0) in the 2nd round they drew KAA Gent from the domestic Belgian Pro League with 2 confusing games Gent-Genk, Genk-Gent and an impressive 2–5 away victory. Even when Genk got beaten in the quarter final against Celta de Vigo (3–2 and 1–1), it was Genk's most successful European season.

Genk won the 2018–19 Belgian First Division A for the fourth time in their history, hence they qualified for the 2019–20 UEFA Champions League after an eight-year absence.[9]

Genk started their 2019-20 UEFA Champions League campaign with a poor 6–2 loss against Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg. In the second match they drew 0–0 against Napoli, and in the third match they lost 1–4 against Liverpool.

Youth academyEdit

Genk is well known for its outstanding youth academy. In 2003 they built their youth center next to their stadium and set up a youth program with Ronny Vangeneugden. There are further plans to build a boarding school and some synthetic pitches. In the past and now, many young players have found their way through the youth system. Some examples are Yannick Carrasco, Jelle Vossen, Dennis Praet, Steven Defour, Christian Benteke, Thibaut Courtois, Divock Origi, Timothy Castagne, Leandro Trossard and Kevin De Bruyne.

Their scouting is also highly regarded. Players such as Kalidou Koulibaly, Wilfred Ndidi, Leon Bailey, Sergej Milinković-Savić and Sander Berge all played for Genk.


Winners: 1998–99, 2001–02, 2010–11, 2018–19
Runners-up: 1997–98, 2006–07, 2020–21
Winners: 1975–76
Runners-up: 1986–87, 1995–96,
Winners: 1987, 1990
Runners-up: 1974
Winners: 1997–98, 1999–2000, 2008–09, 2012–13, 2020–21
Runners-up: 2017–18
Winners: 2011, 2019
Runners-up: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2009, 2013, 2021

European recordEdit

Updated 31 August 2018.
Tournament P W D L GF GA GD Win%
Champions League / European Cup 22 5 8 9 20 41 −21 022.73
Europa League / UEFA Cup 60 34 12 14 117 80 +37 056.67
Cup Winners' Cup 6 3 3 0 16 3 +13 050.00
UEFA Intertoto Cup 10 5 2 3 19 13 +6 050.00
Total 98 47 25 26 172 137 +35 047.96

Summary of best resultsEdit

From the quarter-finals upwards:

UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League:

- quarter-finalists in 2017

UEFA Intertoto Cup:

- semi-finalists in 2004

UEFA club coefficient rankingEdit

As of 2 August 2018, Source: [1]

Rank Team Points
55   APOEL FC 27.000
56   K.A.A. Gent 27.000
57   K.R.C. Genk 27.000
58   AZ Alkmaar 25.000
59   Legia Warsaw 24.500


Current squadEdit

As of 31 August 2021[10]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
2 DF   USA Mark McKenzie
3 DF   ESP Mujaid Sadick
5 DF   MEX Gerardo Arteaga
6 DF   NOR Simen Juklerød
7 FW   JPN Junya Ito
8 MF   BEL Bryan Heynen (captain)
10 FW   BEL Théo Bongonda
11 MF   BEL Mike Trésor Ndayishimiye
14 MF    SUI Bastien Toma
15 MF   BEL Jay-Dee Geusens
17 MF   SVK Patrik Hrošovský
18 FW   NGA Paul Onuachu
20 MF   NED Carel Eiting
No. Pos. Nation Player
21 FW   ENG Ike Ugbo
23 DF   COL Daniel Muñoz
24 MF   BEL Luca Oyen
26 GK   BEL Maarten Vandevoordt
28 MF   GHA Joseph Paintsil
30 GK   BEL Vic Chambaere
33 DF   COL Jhon Lucumí
34 FW   TAN Kelvin John
40 GK   BEL Tobe Leysen
42 MF   NOR Kristian Thorstvedt
46 DF   COL Carlos Cuesta
77 DF   ECU Ángelo Preciado

Out on loanEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
DF   BEL Sébastien Dewaest (at OH Leuven until 30 June 2022)
DF   BRA Neto Borges (at Tondela until 30 June 2022)
MF   CIV Eboue Kouassi (at Arouca until 30 June 2022)
FW   NGA Cyriel Dessers (at Feyenoord until 30 June 2022)
FW   NGA Stephen Odey (at Randers until 30 June 2022)
FW   SWE Benjamin Nygren (at Heerenveen until 30 June 2022)

Former playersEdit

DR Congo
Ivory Coast
South Africa
Bosnia and Herzegovina
North and Central America



  1. ^ Luminus Arena krcgenk.be (last check 30/03/2018)
  2. ^ https://www.uefa.com/MultimediaFiles/Download/StatDoc/competitions/UCL/01/67/63/78/1676378_DOWNLOAD.pdf
  3. ^ Genk in isolation: [ˈɣɛŋk].
  4. ^ "Arsenal Humiliated in Europe On This Day". 3 November 1981.
  5. ^ "Genk pip Standard to Belgian title by Berend Scholten on UEFA.com". UEFA.com. 17 May 2011.
  6. ^ "Köteles shines as Genk defeat Haifa on penalties". UEFA. 23 August 2011.
  7. ^ Budućnost Podgorica–Genk 2–0; UEFA report.
  8. ^ Cork–Genk 1–2; UEFA report.
  9. ^ "KRC Genk kan Groep des Doods loten in Champions League". voetbalnieuws.be (in Dutch). 28 May 2019.
  10. ^ "1ste ploeg" (in Dutch). K.R.C. Genk.

External linksEdit