Bosnia & Herzegovina vs Belgium Preview: Top two clash in Group H as Bosnia look to strengthen their advantage over Greece

Bosnia and Herzegovina face Belgium on Saturday evening with the hosts afforded a chance to secure World Cup qualification.

Bosnia & Herzegovina vs Belgium Preview: Top two clash in Group H as Bosnia look to strengthen their advantage over Greece
Assistant coach Thierry Henry leads Belgium's preparations ahead of Saturday's game. (Photo: Photonews / Getty Images)

Bosnia & Herzegovina lock horns with Group H winners Belgium on Saturday evening as they look to secure their place in the play-offs for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

A win coupled with an unlikely Greece defeat away to Cyprus would confirm Bosnia's second placed finish in Group H, although they may rely on Wales losing to Georgia or the Republic of Ireland in their remaining two games to secure a finish as one of the eight teams in second with the most points.

Zmajevi second only to high-flying Belgium in Group H

Mehmed Baždarević's side sit on 14 points in Group H prior to kick-off, eight points behind leaders Belgium who have already secured their place in Russia with an unbeaten record in qualification so far.

Bosnia ran out 4-0 winners over minnows Gibraltar in their last qualifying match with a brace from Edin Džeko and goals from Senad Lulić and Kenan Kodro securing three points in September.

Zmajevi's big slip-up came in Cyprus in August as they succumbed to a 3-2 defeat after taking a 2-0 lead into half-time, leaving Greece hot on their tails with just one point separating the two.

AS Roma forward Džeko has been his country's talisman during qualifcation as he is for his club, scoring five goals in seven appearances while fellow striker Vedad Ibišević is next with three goals to his name.

Embed from Getty Images

Red Devils looking to maintain unbeaten record heading into the World Cup

Roberto Martínez's Belgium are one of seven European teams who are yet to lose during qualifying, and the Red Devils have scored a monstrous 35 goals in just eight games while conceding only three.

Their sole draw in the competition came at home to nine-man Greece, with Romelu Lukaku sparing their blushes with an 89th minute equaliser after Kostas Mitroglou opened the scoring just after half-time.

The Belgians have enjoyed thumping wins against the bottom half of the group including an 8-1 win over Estonia and 6-0 and 9-0 wins over Gibraltar, while their last encounter with Bosnia one year ago ended 4-0 in Belgium's favour thanks to goals from Eden Hazard, Toby Alderweireld and Lukaku as well as an own goal from Emir Spahić

It will surprise few that Manchester United striker Lukaku is Belgium's top scorer during qualification with 10 goals in seven appearances, while Napoli's Dries Mertens is second to Lukaku with five goals and six assists in the same amount of games.

Team news

The hosts are without Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanić for both of their final two games in Group H due to a thigh strain suffered on Champions League duty for the Old Lady, while defender Ermin Bičakčić could also miss Saturday's game due to injury.

Belgium talisman Lukaku has been ruled out of Saturday's game with an ankle injury, but could return in time for their final Group H game against Cyprus on Tuesday, while captain Vincent Kompany is also set to miss the game with a calf injury.

Predicted line-ups

Bosnia & Herzegovina (4-2-3-1): Begović; Kolasinać, Zukanović, Cocalić, Vranjes; Jajalo, Hadžić; Lulić, Kodro, Visca; Džeko.

Belgium (3-4-3): Courtois; Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Vermaelen; Carrasco, Fellaini, Dembélé, Meunier; Hazard, Mertens, De Bruyne.